Welcome to the eleventh issue of Vaping UK, an e-bulletin published by the UK Vaping Industry Association bringing the latest news and views in the sector.
Parliamentarians agree vaping regulation ripe for change
At the latest meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes, parliamentarians agreed that vaping regulation was ripe for change. Hearing the evidence of UKVIA members John Dunne (E-Liquid Brands) and Damien Bove (Adact Medical) on how the UK vaping market can reach its full public health potential, Mark Pawsey MP, Sir Kevin Barron MP and Adam Afriyie MP said they would support reform to the e-cigarette elements of the Tobacco Products Directive.
John Dunne explained to the Group that lack of broadcast advertising meant older smokers not using social media were less informed about opportunities to quit using vaping products. As evidenced by Daniel Pryor, author of the Adam Smith Institute’s recent ‘1 Million Years of Life’ report, TPD restrictions on broadcast advertising meant that “people were becoming less knowledgeable about the health benefits of e-cigarettes when compared to cigarettes.” Sir Kevin Barron MP was critical of these limits, adding that the Labour Party would embrace anything that could reduce smoking-related diseases and save the NHS millions.
John Dunne also told parliamentarians that TPD’s restrictions on nicotine strengths, bottle sizes and packaging in fact stood in complete contradiction to the Government’s current waste and plastics reduction policies. Adam Afriyie MP agreed that there was an appetite within Government to reform vaping regulation, as it fitted particularly well with its technology and innovation agenda.
Damien Bove made key contributions, namely by raising TPD’s misconception that non-nicotine e-liquids did not need regulating. Manufacturers of nicotine e-liquids who were beholden to severe TPD restrictions (from nicotine strengths to bottles sizes and number of drops per minute) were being undercut by 0% nicotine e-liquid manufacturers, who under TPD were allowed to sell their products in up to 100ml bottles. Due to the TPD loophole, vapers were buying 0% e-liquids in bulk, with the sole intention of ‘short-filling’.
Other highlights included Dr Lynne Dawkins, who argued that limits on nicotine concentrations were actively preventing more smokers from converting. Sarah Jakes (New Nicotine Alliance), also told the Group that under TPD many smoking cessation services were still preaching abstinence to smokers wishing to quit; whilst Helen Taylor (Cuts Ice E-Liquid Laboratories), showed how TPD was hampering product research and development, particularly for SMEs, and in an industry that demanded constant innovation.
Full minutes of the meeting will be available on the UKVIA website shortly.
NHS Report points to 70% of smokers accepting vaping is safer
Latest NHS Statistics on Smoking show that a staggering 1.6million people have stopped smoking in six years, with vaping playing an important role in helping smokers quit.
According to the report, 2017 saw yet another fall in the number of smokers in the UK from 15.5% in 2016 to 15.1% in 2017. Vaping is now considered as one of the most effective ways to stop smoking, and the new statistics show that 70% of smokers accept that it is the less harmful alternative.
With a recent evidence review from Public Health England finding that e-cigarettes may be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year, it is further proof of the role that vaping has to play in smoking cessation in the UK.
A UKVIA spokesperson said: “We welcome the new statistics on smoking published by the NHS, which show yet another fall in the number of smokers in the UK and we are pleased to see that vaping has been the key in helping so many smokers to quit their habit.
“However, the industry still has a long way to go. Although recent figures show the perception around vaping is improving, the widespread myths about it continue, with many smokers thinking that e-cigarettes are as expensive and harmful as smoking. At the UKVIA we are doing our utmost to educate smokers on the facts.”
JAC Vapour hits the headlines in Scotland
JAC Vapour has hit the headlines in the Scotsman, Scotland’s leading national newspaper.
The paper features the Leith-based e-cigarette firm’s £250,000 investment in new products, which have been developed in-house.
Two new e-cigarette devices and eight e-liquid products have been created, with the company planning to launch two more hardware devices before the end of the year.
Established in 2010 by Logan, the firm’s chief design officer, JAC Vapour now has a customer base that is tens of thousands strong, with around 80 per cent of its business coming from the UK through its retail, wholesale and distribution divisions.
Chief executive Neil McCallum told the Scotsman: “2018 has been a huge year of investment and development for us. This £250,000 spend shows our commitment to our R&D team in Edinburgh.
“Their continued attention to detail and design means they never stop coming up with new and innovative ideas for an ever-changing e-cigarette market.”
The paper also reports on JAC Vapour’s plans to expand into the US and new products being developed specifically for the German and French markets for launch in late 2018 early 2019.”
What’s next for UK Vape Shops?
According to UKVIA figures, there are now around 2,000 vaping outlets in the UK.
But as the industry passes its 10-year mark, some are now predicting a slowdown in the sudden rise of UK vape shops. This trend was covered in a recent BBC article that observed the current challenges facing the high street vaping market. Market saturation and advertising restrictions are two of the challenges that high street retailers are facing.
According to Andrej Kuttruf, Founder and CEO of Evapo and UKVIA member, vape shops have to offer much more than a product to be successful and continue to grow.
He says: “Customers are increasingly expecting personal, knowledgeable, one-to-one advice when they purchase vape products and as long as we can provide this service, vape shops will always have an important and growing role on the high street.”
Doctors call for vaping to be allowed on hospital premises
In a new report, the Royal College of Physicians called for stop smoking services to become a routine part of all NHS hospital care for the 3,000 smokers admitted to hospital in the UK every day.
According to the report, support for smoking cessation should be an ‘opt-out’ service for all NHS patients who smoke, as currently patients are admitted and discharged without being asked about their smoking habits or offered help to quit.
As part of this initiative, doctors have called for vaping to be permitted on NHS hospital premises to support patients in remaining smoke-free. This comes alongside their call for new legislation to ensure NHS services adhere to the non-smoking onsite policy.
John Dunne, spokesperson for UKVIA, said: “It is welcome news to hear leading doctors consider e-cigarette use an effective way of creating a smoke-free environment for patients in NHS hospitals. It once again shows that switching to e-cigarettes not only reduces the £2.6 billion smoking costs for the NHS, but also supports smokers on their journey to quitting.
“According to NHS England, 1 in 4 NHS patients smoke. Providing them with the help they need to quit smoking while in hospital is essential and will ultimately help to save lives. At the UKVIA we believe developing vape friendly policies for both work and public places represents a great opportunity for government to incentivise smokers to quit.”
Regulations on vaping industry face setback in the USA
In the UK there is no doubt that vaping has been accepted by many as a less harmful alternative to smoking, with backing from Public Health England. Although the UK has made ground-breaking progress for the industry, there is still a long way to go in achieving an international consensus on the public health benefits of vaping.
A recent vote in San Francisco, USA saw voters overwhelmingly uphold the state’s strict ban on flavoured vaping products. The results of 68% and 38% in favour of the ban came as a shock to business and industry leaders in the region, with many small businesses concerned about the lasting impact the regulations will have.
Known as Proposition E, the legislation is expected to be one of the most restrictive in the country, and aims to reduce the use of sweet flavoured tobacco products amongst teenagers. Whilst Industry representatives in America support efforts to reduce youth access to products, they also urge that the choice is preserved for adult smokers looking to make the switch to vaping.
A UKVIA spokesperson said: “It is disappointing to see that the key public health messages on vaping are not matched in America, as the UK continues to accept vaping as one of the most effective ways to stop smoking. The harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes is undeniable and it is important that the industry can continue to help smokers to quit with the wide range of vaping products and devices available.”
More advertising holds the key to switching to vaping say smokers
Smokers believe that more advertising showing the public health potential of vaping and the cost saving versus cigarettes are key to them making the switch to vaping, new research reveals.
The UKVIA recently teamed up with Consumer Intelligence to find out what smokers need to help them make the switch to vaping. The study found that:
- 68% felt that changing current advertising restrictions imposed by the Advertising Standards Agency to allow public health messages to be promoted by the vaping industry would help more smokers make the switch.
- Nearly 2 in every 3 smokers (63%) interviewed felt that information from their GP, pharmacist or a healthcare professional would influence their decision to make the change;
- 61% said that visible information in a healthcare environment would be beneficial;
- Nearly half (48%) called for more educational advertising by public health organisations or the government in the media;
- Almost two thirds (61%) agreed that Public Health England’s recent recommendation for hospitals to allow vaping on their premises and to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids on site would convince more of them to take up vaping.
Commenting on the findings, John Dunne, a director at UKVIA said: “This highlights the critical role that accurate advertising has to play in realizing the public health prize that vaping represents. This isn’t coming from the industry but from smokers who could be convinced to break their habits.
“More education all round is needed to get smokers to make the switch and to realise the full public health potential of vaping. There needs to be a strong and cohesive message from government, public health and the vaping industry to make switching from smoking to vaping an obvious choice.
For more information, see the full report and our press release here.