The UKVIA responds to Telegraph article: Number of children vaping doubles in five years, new research shows.
John Dunne from the UK Vaping Industry Association said:
“It’s disappointing that yet another scare-story, propagated by those known to have strong views against vaping, has been allowed to add to the misinformation campaign about the use of e-cigarettes. These stories ignore the growing body of evidence which shows that vaping is one of the most successful ways to help smokers quit and cited by the respected and independent Public Health England as being 95% less harmful than smoking.
“The great shame about this misleading campaign is that it is likely to put existing smokers off switching to vaping, and lead to them continuing their exposure to far more harmful tobacco. As the largest and most respectable face of the vaping industry in the UK, we will continue to rely on evidence and real people’s experiences, rather than conjecture and supposition to provide the public with the facts.
The public health potential of vaping
A strong consensus has developed between leading and respected health organisations that vaping is considerably less harmful than smoking, and that it could represent one of the biggest opportunities for public health in the 21st century. The quantity and quality of evidence supporting the public health potential of vaping has been increasing dramatically in the last few years and now encompasses the UK’s most recognised academics and public health groups in this area. It is disappointing that this research has been ignored by articles in favour of academics who are based abroad or who appear to have been deliberately selected for their renown of completely opposing settled policy in this area.
- In September 2015, thirteen organisations, including Public Health England (PHE) and Cancer Research UK signed a joint statement on vaping. This statement advocated the public health opportunity presented by smokers switching to vaping products, reporting that e-cigarettes are at least “95% less harmful to your health than cigarettes” (E-Cigarettes: an emerging public health consensus, 15 September 2015.This statement was ratified again in July 2016, and in February 2019.
- Public Health England released its most recent report into the use of vaping products yesterday. This report found that the UK could accelerate the decline in smoking if more smokers switched completely to vaping. It emphasised recent new evidence that shows using an e-cigarette with Stop Smoking Service support can double your chances of quitting smoking. The report also reiterated that Vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking which vaping contributing to at least 20,000 successful smoking quits per year ().
Vaping and young people
- The UKVIA is clear that vaping products are for adult smokers only. Products should never be marketed or sold to under 18s.
- However, whilst we take this issue seriously, we are pleased that according to ASH and Public Health England, there is no evidence of youth uptake of vaping products in the UK:
- Action on Smoking and Health statistics from August 2018 found that youth (11-18 year-old) use of vaping products in Great Britain is rare and largely confined to those that already smoke cigarettes.
- The stats show that just 2% of youths vape at least weekly while another 2% use vaping products occasionally (once a month or less).
- Public Health England confirmed yesterday that, we are not seeing a surge in e-cigarette use among young people in Britain. Regular use of vaping products remain low, and rates are very low among those who have never smoked.
- The UKVIA is a partnership of the leading and most respected vaping brands, and only allows those who want to maintain high industry standards to be members. That’s why we have recently implemented a new code of conduct which (amongst other things) confirms that:
- Members will apply a ‘Challenge 25’ policy in retail environments.
- Ensure retail staff a fully age aware trained.
- Apply robust safety processes for online sales.
- Products should not be designed to appeal specifically to anyone under 18 years old.
- Vaping products must only be marketed towards adult smokers or vapers.
- We also want to work together as an industry to do more in this area. Vaping has a great opportunity to help more smokers switch to a far less harmful alternative, and this must not be put at risk by any less reputable businesses who seek to apply incorrect business practices. We have a dedicated committee considering this area and what more we can do collectively to maintain confidence in our industry.