This week’s announcement that the Government has thrown its weight behind vaping is a huge boost to UK electronic cigarettes and has been broadly welcomed by the industry. With 2 out of 3 smokers dying from their habit, ministers have embraced some of the findings from the Khan Review and decided to give vaping a huge push. The result will be positive for current vapers, smokers looking to switch and the industry that is helping people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
What has the Health Minister said?
Health Minister Neil O’Brien spoke about the ongoing tragedy whereby cigarettes are the only product on sale that will kill its users if used correctly.
He said that the Government has decided to act so that smokers can be helped to quit using tobacco and that non-smokers (including young people) will be prevented from taking up the habit.
It all revolves around one thing: “Using vaping as a tool for established adult smokers to quit.”
What has the Government pledged to do?
·Smokers are going to encouraged to swap to vaping
·Pregnant women are going to offered money to quit smoking
·A Trading Standards crack squad to stop illegal underage sales of ecigs
·A call for experts to submit evidence about smoking cessation and the prevention of teen vaping
·A consultation on cigarette pack inserts promoting e-cigarette use
The ‘Swap to Stop’ scheme is said to be a “world’s first” and will deliver a free starter kit to approximately one in five current smokers.
How has the news been received?
The Association of Convenience Stores “strongly welcomed” the announcement.
Chief executive James Lowman said: “Our members will welcome and embrace more enforcement activity and our guidance, on recognising legal products and implementing the widely recognised and robust Challenge25 policy to avoid under age sales, is freely available for all retailers to use.”
The New Nicotine Alliance (a charity that campaigns on behalf of ecig users) called the proposed measures “ground-breaking” and said they “are well thought-through and proportionate”.
The charity added: “The NNA warmly welcomes the government’s approach of embracing reduced risk products for smoking cessation, while also resisting simplistic prohibitive regulations to reduce youth vaping which could do more harm than good.
“We are particularly pleased to see that the government is considering cigarette pack inserts which is a policy we have long championed. It would require an amendment to current tobacco packaging regulations but is a common-sense idea which is long overdue. There is no better targeted way to reach people who smoke than by giving them information with the products they buy.”
The World Vapers’ Alliance, a group that “amplifies the voice of vapers worldwide”, applauded the measures and stated that it is “great news for public health” in the United Kingdom, adding, “the UK is a smoking-cessation champion and harm reduction leader worldwide. Further helping smokers to switch will accelerate the UK’s success story.”