Welcome to the twelfth issue of Vaping UK, an e-bulletin published by the UK Vaping Industry Association bringing the latest news and views in the sector.
MPs back vaping’s potential to radically reduce smoking in the UK
Following an extensive inquiry into e-cigarettes, a new report by the Science and Technology Committee has concluded that the government is missing significant opportunities to tackle UK smoking rates.
Among the recommendations, the Committee urges the government to consider tax breaks for vaping products; allowing wider use of vaping in public places; and creating a streamlined route to medically licenced vaping products.
It also calls on the government to reconsider the regulations around e-cigarette packaging and advertising. Advertising rules currently prevent the industry from making health claims comparing vaping to smoking. The Committee believes this is stopping UK smokers (almost 7 million), from making informed decisions about switching to vaping, considered to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes.
The report also states that restrictions on nicotine strength, tank size and bottles is not founded on scientific evidence and should be urgently reviewed.
UKVIA were represented strongly in the media as they welcomed the findings of the report. Members appeared across a wide range to national TV and Radio including LBC Radio Sky News, Channel 5 News, Channel 4 News as well as BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show and multiple features on BBC News. The publication was also covered widely in print media, with UKVIA quoted in The Daily Mail, The Financial Times, The Politico and on the front page of City AM.
John Dunne, a witness before the Committee on behalf of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), said: “The Science and Technology Committee report is a ringing endorsement of vaping’s public health potential.
“They are absolutely right that advertising restrictions are preventing smokers from hearing the truth. More and more people wrongly believe vaping to be more harmful or as harmful as smoking. This is a direct consequence of advertising restrictions that prevent the industry from telling smokers that vaping is 95% less harmful. If health bodies can say it, why can’t we?
“The industry is pleased to see the Committee recognise the nonsensical packaging and nicotine strength regulations, that only hamper vaping’s potential appeal to smokers looking for an alternative.
“Only recently we were hearing worrying rumours of a supposed tax on vaping. It is therefore encouraging to hear the Committee speak sense in calling for a reduced tax on vaping to recognise its health improvement potential for smokers.
“More research is of course required, and we entirely support their calls for regular, publicly available, evidence reviews. But we already know the harm smoking causes, that is why we must not stifle this important innovation. We look forward to seeing the government’s response.”
Vaping industry reacts to reports of new ‘sin tax’ for vapers
Vaping has hit headlines again with reports that Government plans to impose a new ‘sin tax’ on vaping products, as part of their plan to raise a tax revenue of £40million.
The UKVIA, who strongly oppose further taxes on vaping, took immediate action in writing the Treasury to express concerns ahead of the Autumn Budget. The letter was sent to Chancellor Phillip Hammond and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, with signatures from leading think tanks and industry representatives including, the Institute of Economic Affairs, TaxPayers’ Alliance, Centre for Policy Studies, The Freedom Association, Adam Smith Institute and the New Nicotine Alliance.
Leading the criticism of a tax increase on vaping, the UKVIA appeared in The Sun and made front page news of City AM, as John Dunne, Director of the UKVIA deemed the suggested new tax “ridiculous”. Only days after the first ‘sin tax’ reports, UKVIA’s Open Letter had been published in The Sun and sparked significant reaction as MP Mary Glindon voiced her support for the campaign in a City AM article.
John Dunne, Director of the UKVIA, said “Vaping over the last few years has been at the forefront of smoking cessation and imposing a ‘sin tax’ on these products is counterintuitive to the government’s mission of reducing smokers in the UK and lessening the burden for the NHS.
“With huge public health potential, vaping has already helped three million smokers quit or cut down their habit and saved the NHS billions of pounds according to the Government’s own research. To impose further taxes on vaping it would be detrimental, not only to the NHS, but the health of the nation.
“If Government are to take the aim of a smoke-free UK seriously, we should instead be seeing a VAT reduction on vaping”
Writing to the Treasury, the UKVIA highlighted that vaping saves the NHS money in helping millions of smokers reduce or quit smoking. A staggering 97% of vapers are either smokers or ex-smokers and the low price of vaping products is proven to be a key factor in encouraging smokers to switch from their more expensive smoking habit.
Unlike other nicotine replacement therapies, which at their peak cost the NHS over £65million a year, the consumer-led vaping industry carries no prescribing costs. The industry has been responsible for creating thousands of UK jobs, following its exponential growth in recent years, and the Treasury are at risk of diminishing its current economic value in the UK with the proposed tax rise.
UKVIA welcome industry members as they look to the year ahead
Nearing its 2-year mark, the UKVIA invited industry representatives to join members in celebrating their key highlights to date, as the industry continues to be one of fastest growing markets in the UK.
From making the public health case for vaping heard on policy front-lines to launching VApril, the UK’s first vaping awareness month, the UKVIA have seen a successful year. Against this backdrop, members outlined their key priorities for the association’s year ahead, with a chance to gain an insight from wider industry representatives at the event.
John Dunne, Director of the UKVIA said, “Over the last two years we’ve made exciting progress in promoting the evidence-based public health benefits of vaping and in helping to encourage smokers to make the life-changing switch.
“It is fantastic to welcome other industry players to join us in celebrating our success to date and we’d urge anyone who believes in our vision to become a member of the UK’s leading vaping industry association.”
With vaping frequently hitting the headlines, the UKVIA have gained an extensive media profile, appearing on BBC News, the Victoria Derbyshire Show and in numerous articles of major print publications. The impact of this coverage was shown with the UKVIA receiving a staggering 2000 social media views per month and audiences of over 400K for their T.V appearances.
The UKVIA also set out their plans for ongoing public affairs activity, with aims to secure regulatory change and greater Government support for vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool. After an eventful year in Westminster, the UKVIA looks forward to working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes in launching a new vaping report and will continue key consultations with Parliamentarians on incentives for vaping research and smoking cessation.
New vaping brand arrives in UK taking retailers by storm
Evapo, a vaping retailer in the UKVIA, has experienced recent popularity with consumers, as American e-cigarette brand Juul made its debut appearance in UK vape stores.
As one of the major players in the US vaping market, Juul’s arrival in the UK has sparked excitement amongst the nation’s vapers, who previously could only order from America.
Andrej Kuttruf, founder of Evapo and UKVIA board member, has had an extraordinary few weeks since the new e-cigarettes appeared on UK shelves, with shoppers flocking to his 41 stores to buy the desired devices.
“The release of these new products in the UK creates a fantastic opportunity for vaping retailers to share in the success Juul have seen in the US.
“To help our customers successfully quit smoking with vaping, it is essential that our stores are able to provide a wide range of products, so we can help first-time vapers find the device that best suits them.
“With a positive approach to vaping, the UK have become one of the world’s leading countries in championing the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes. The arrival one of America’s prominent vaping brands is a testament to the exponential growth that the UK vaping market has seen in recent years.” said Kuttruf.
Onwards and upwards!
Membership of the UKVIA is on the rise as the association gets ready to enter its third year of representing the industry in an expanding marketplace.
Latest members include:
- Future Proof Insurance, a leading insurance company, who as a supplier member, offer expertise ranging from Life Insurance to Income Protection.
- Lumo Liquids, a high-quality manufacturer of e-liquids based in South Wales.
- Scottish Grocers Federation, the national trade association for the convenience store industry in Scotland.
- Vape Business Ireland, the largest vaping trade association in Ireland.
Zoe Walker-Cleave, board member of the UKVIA, said: “After two years in action, the UKVIA are now established as the leading industry body in policy and the media. It is an exciting time to be joining the association following the successful launch of VApril, the nation’s first vaping awareness campaign and UKVIA’s inaugural Going for Growth Forum.
“As we enter UKVIA’s third year, we will continue our ongoing efforts in maximising the harm reduction benefits of vaping and to ensure that the public health message is heard loud and clear in both political and public arenas. 2018/19 will also be an important year for the industry with the opportunities for regulatory change that Brexit creates and the UKVIA will be working hard to ensure matters such as TPD are at the top of the agenda.”