Two hundred industry and consumer representatives gathered in central London for the UKVIA Forum 2019 to discuss how we can seize the public health prize that vaping represents.
Hearing from keynote speaker TV Doctor Christian Jessen, political figures and industry-wide experts, the message was clear that vaping is a ‘gift to public health’ that can help the 7 million UK smokers quit.
Supported by headline sponsor Diamond Mist, the conference saw panels reach important outcomes for some of the key issues and opportunities currently facing the industry, from future regulatory changes, to reaching more smokers across health and retail sectors, and the rise of new markets in CBD and vaping technology.
With the key focus on vaping’s public health potential, speakers such as MP Mark Pawsey, Sir Kevin Barron MP and Health Psychologist, Sairah Salim-Sartoni argued for vaping to be made accessible in all stop smoking services and explored the need to change blanket regulations that restrict vaping in public places alongside smoking. Calls were also made for an official list of vape-friendly pubs in the UK, as supported by panellist Andy Tighe – Chief Executive of the Beer and Pub Association.
To help more smokers make a successful switch to vaping, it was widely agreed that the industry must work together to ensure retail staff provide clear and consistent advice for first-time vapers in not only specialist shops but across major convenience brands.
Joining the discussion on vaping and stop smoking services, Doctor Christian Jessen also focussed on getting the message right, agreeing with fellow panellists that the ‘pleasure’ of vaping is key to helping more smokers switch and should be promoted alongside its public health benefits. This was echoed in the popular session on CBD and vaping, where the panel explored how to define CBD’s health benefits and shape the emerging consumer legislation.
The Forum addressed one of the most critical challenges for the industry in a panel on vaping and young people. Speakers including, Chris Snowdon – Institute of Economic Affairs, Ed Heaver – Serve Legal, Jon Ungoed-Thomas – The Sunday Times, claimed that the UK does not have a significant problem with youth vaping, following Public Health England’s most recent statistics that only 1.7% of people aged 11 to 18 vape. However, clear warnings were heard for the industry to market responsibly, as set out in the UKVIA’s Code of Conduct. Options were also explored to use the new age verification technology, soon to be introduced by the Government, for all age-restricted products online such as vaping.
John Dunne, board member at the UKVIA said: “The UKVIA Forum is a unique opportunity to bring together leaders in industry, retail, health and policy sectors and offers delegates the chance to make their voice heard on how to reach vaping’s full public health potential.
“The conference made some real progress in key areas, from supporting stop smoking services and giving effective advice to first-time vapers to ensuring a responsible vaping market. With new developments predicted in vaping app technology and upcoming regulatory changes in the menthol cigarette market, there was no doubt that the industry will continue to see significant growth in the future.”
A full breakdown on the UKVIA Forum will soon be available on the UKVIA website: www.ukvia.co.uk