Welcome to the fifth issue of Vaping UK, an e-bulletin published by the UK Vaping Industry Association bringing the latest news and views in the sector.

What a year!

The UKVIA has published its first annual report 12 months after its inception. The report covers a year of significant development for the Association, its members and the industry from the EU Tobacco Products Regulations to the launch of Public Health England’s (PHE) advertising campaign to encourage people to use vape products in order to quit smoking. The annual report covers key stakeholder engagement activities that the UKVIA has been involved in as well as the progress being made by its members.

In his foreword Doug Mutter, a member of the Operations Executive at UKVIA, said: “It’s been quite a roller coaster year for our industry. It’s now critical that the Government puts its words into action and without delay plays a key role in disseminating the positive public health message around vaping and reviews the arbitrary Article 20 restrictions that are currently impacting our industry. The fact that PHE has launched an advertising campaign to encourage use of vape products to quit smoking is a great start.”

Please download a copy of the annual report here.

State of the Vaping Nation report published: Government urged to keep promoting the health benefits of vaping

The All Party Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes has published its first report last week, urging the government to build upon Public Health England’s (PHE) Stoptober anti-smoking campaign, which was the first of its kind to encourage the use of vaping as a means to quit smoking.

In its report, “The State of the Vaping Nation”, the APPG has called upon the government and public health bodies to sustain and capitalise on the level of public engagement with vaping seen during Stoptober by launching a continuous programme to keep promoting and accurately communicating the positive public health evidence for vaping.

The UKVIA has welcomed the APPG’s call. Doug Mutter, a board member at the UKVIA, commented: “When our own esteemed health bodies already recognise vaping as being at least 95% less harmful than smoking, why are we preventing people from making the switch by banning most advertising? Why does the industry have more strict packaging guidelines than bleach?”

Following the PHE campaign, which emerged from the government’s commitment in its recently published Tobacco Control Plan to back the promotion of the positive public health opportunity of vaping, UKVIA members have experienced significant increase in sales during Stoptober. In particular, there has been a considerable rise in starter-kit sales suggesting a significant increase in those smokers trying vaping for the first time.

Watford-based Vape Club, the UK’s largest online vape e-liquid shop and JAC Vapour, a leading retailer, wholesaler and producer of vaping products, have experienced increases in starter kit sales by 37% and 65% year on year respectively.  Edinburgh based Vaporized, the UK’s largest vape retail chain, added 3 more stores to its now 106 store portfolio and experienced a 40% year-on-year rise in sales this October.

The APPG for E-Cigarettes is holding a reception to welcome and discuss the State of the Vaping Nation report on 20 November, between 4pm and 6pm. Places are limited, but to request a ticket please contact laurie.jacobs@jbp.co.uk. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Science and Technology Committee launch vaping Inquiry

The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons recently launched an inquiry into vaping products. In a wide ranging inquiry, the Committee will be investigating the health, regulation and financial impact of vaping products.

The UKVIA welcomed the announcement: “We are pleased that vaping is attracting so much attention inside Parliament. With Public Health England recently endorsing vaping products in their Stoptober campaign, and the Royal College of Physicians, Cancer Research UK and the Royal Society of Public Health backing e-cigarettes as well, the evidence base for vaping is growing and growing. This will be an excellent opportunity to robustly interrogate the science behind e-cigarettes, and firmly establish vaping as the best way to change the lives of smokers in the UK.”

UKVIA responds to key consultations

This month, the UKVIA has been standing up as the voice of the entire vaping industry by responding to several key consultations.  Welcoming the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) proposal to remove the current prohibition on vaping products advertising their public health potential, the UKVIA commented: “Vaping could be the biggest public health prize of the 21st century and it is essential that public health authorities, charities, the industry and non-governmental organisations are able to share factual information with consumers about this potentially life changing alternative to smoking.”

The UKVIA also submitted a joint submission with Vape Business Ireland, welcoming the Northern Irish Government’s proposal to restrict the age of sale for nicotine inhaling products to over eighteens, commenting: “Vaping products should not be sold or marketed towards under 18s, or indeed non-smokers. As the UK and Ireland’s leading trade associations, we support sensible, evidence based regulation that protects consumers and ensures that the public health community have absolute confidence in our industry. We therefore welcome this move to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK by introducing minimum age limit for vaping products sales.”

Furthermore the UKVIA welcomed the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s decision to include vaping within the smoking cessation guidelines for medical professionals: “Vaping could be the biggest public health prize of the 21st century and it is essential that GPs work with the wider public health community to share factual information with consumers about this potentially life changing alternative to smoking”.

Copies of the UKVIA’s consultation responses are available on the website here.

UKVIA flies the flag for the industry

With vaping making headlines over the last few weeks, the UKVIA has once again been representing the industry in the national media. The Association responded to the Science and Technology Committee’s vaping inquiry on Sky News and in the Evening Standard, as well as to allegations of vaping being a ‘gateway’ to teenage tobacco uptake in the Daily Mail.

UKVIA spokesman John Dunne also gave an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live about vaping in public places. John was very clear that treating vapers the same as smokers reinforces the idea that vaping products have similar harm to tobacco.

England on course to meet ‘smoke-free’ ambition by 2040

A new Frontier Economics study, finds that the Government’s ambition for England to achieve a ‘smoke-free generation’ is on track to be achieved by 2040, and could be reached much earlier if more smokers are encouraged to switch to vaping.

The study, funded by UKVIA member Philip Morris Limited and prepared independently by Frontier, shows that smoking rates declined more than twice as fast between 2012 and 2016 than between 1993 and 2011. A material part of this rapid decline in smoking is the far safer alternative offered by vaping, with around 1.5 million former smokers converting to vaping in England. If this trend continues, England could be on course to be smoke-free by as early as 2029.

However, the Report warns that this life-saving goal has been put at risk by the recent slowdown in the number of people starting to vape. This decline is caused by an increasingly negative public perception of vaping resulting from sensationalist media claims and regulatory inconsistencies.