Welcome to the fourth issue of Vaping UK, an e-bulletin published by the UK Vaping Industry Association bringing the latest news and views in the sector.
The tide is turning on vaping, with new Stoptober campaign
Public Health England has announced plans to promote vaping as an alternative to smoking during their annual Stoptober campaign.
In a hugely positive move, they are making good on the government’s commitment in July’s Tobacco Control Plan to more actively support vaping. This news was welcomed by the UKVIA (quoted in the Evening Standard) “It feels that at last the tide is beginning to turn; the UK is leading the way on vaping as an effective tool to reduce and stop smoking related disease.” This news came at the same time as NHS Health Scotland published a consensus with over 20 partners in the NHS, Scottish Government, third sector and academia, stating that vaping is “definitely less harmful” than smoking.
However, despite these positive developments, the Welsh Government continued to fly in the face of the evidence, publishing their own Tobacco Control Delivery Plan which did not reference the role that vaping can play at all A UKVIA spokesman commented: “The English and Scottish health authorities have both taken major steps towards recognising the public health potential of vaping. It is now time for the Welsh Government to make the same commitment to harm reduction public health policy”.
UKVIA welcomes consultation to remove health benefits advertising restrictions
This week the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) opened a consultation on the current prohibition which relates to the vaping sector advertising the public health potential of its products.
It follows the results of a call for evidence last year in which a majority of respondents, including the UKVIA, argued that the increasing vaping product quality, emerging science around their public health potential and relative safety versus cigarettes warranted the removal of the prohibition.
The consultation follows the Government’s commitment in the Tobacco Control Plan to communicate the potential public health benefits of vaping.
Doug Mutter of the UKVIA said: “If the Government can do it surely the vaping industry should be allowed to. As long as the advertising content is based on sound evidence there is a real opportunity to educate consumers on the less harmful effects of vaping versus smoking. Currently perceptions persist that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking because of mixed messages in the media.”
“Although the consultation would only remove the restriction on advertising for the channels permitted by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), this is a very positive step for the vaping industry.”
“However we urge the Government and public health policy makers to conduct a complete review of the advertising restrictions in Article 20 of the TPD. These restrictions severely curtail the ability of the industry to communicate the public health potential of vaping to smokers and existing vapers, and create a confusing climate for both consumers and the industry. This needs to change.”
Make your voice count and call for the removal of the prohibition by participating in the consultation here.
CAP is the arms-length policy and advisory arm of the Advertising Standards Authority. CAP set out and advise on advertising regulations, and the ASA is responsible for enforcing the rules.
Vaping on the Party conference agenda
Party conference season is nearly upon us and whilst there is a notable lack of public health focussed related events, vaping does feature.
The Institute of Economic Affairs’ event “Vaping: Could Brexit Be Good For Our Health” at Conservative Party Conference will discuss the potential public health opportunity of vaping, and specifically whether changes to the TPD could make the post-Brexit UK a world leader in public health policy. The UKVIA’s James Hargrave will join Clive Bates and Chris Snowden on the panel.
Also at Conservative Conference, UKVIA member Vype will be holding its own reception to discuss the dynamic and innovative vaping industry.
At the Labour Party conference, Shadow Public Health Minister, Sharon Hodgson MP, will take part in a panel discussion on public health policy.
The UKVIA will be represented at the two main Party Conferences and will be reporting on discussions relating to vaping in a forthcoming issue of Vaping UK.
Is junk science hindering a positive perception of vaping?
Is the junk science surrounding vaping stopping real vaping research? That seems to be the view of Suzi Gage, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol, who is conducting a research project funded by Cancer Research UK into the longer-term effects of vaping products.
Indeed, Suzi claims that vapers are fearful that whatever results are found in the research, the results will be used to smear or tarnish the reputation of vaping, and so do not want to take part.
With the wealth of junk science and scaremongering that we see in the media about vaping, this is not difficult to understand. Whether it is vaping leading to a generation of chain-smoking kids, or vaping damaging your heart, your lungs, or giving mice asthma (to see what some learned academics made of this claim, click here), the vaping industry has heard it all.
Andrej Kuttruf of the UKVIA said: “The issue is that if junk science stops real research from taking place, negative perceptions or doubts around vaping will remain. We hope that researchers like Suzi are able to get support from vapers for their research in future, as it is critical for the progression of the industry.”
If you would like to contribute the University of Bristol’s research, follow the information at the bottom of the article. Alternatively, if you are based in Scotland, the University of Dundee are also carrying out a long-term study into e-cigarettes To find out more details, click here.
The more you vape the more likely you’ll quit smoking
New research from the USA has concluded that the more someone vapes the more likely they are to give up smoking. Despite accusations from the Surgeon General that vaping products are a “major emerging public health concern”, researchers at Georgetown University have published a study finding that using vaping products does in fact help smokers quit.
Not only that, the research showed a linear correlation between the success of quit attempts and the frequency of e-cigarette use – the more the person trying to quit used vaping products, the more likely they were to quit successfully.
This research is a welcome change and the UKVIA hopes that more studies like this will emerge in the US and be taken into account by their policymakers.