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

What does 2018 hold for the vaping industry?

A new year, and new opportunities and challenges will present themselves for the vaping sector – will Brexit create an opportunity to review the Tobacco Products Directive? What will be the new products to look out for in the market place? Who will be the winners and losers as competition intensifies?

UKVIA members gave us their predictions on what lies ahead over the next year.

Pascal Culverhouse, Founder & CEO of The Electric Tobacconist Group, says: “2018 is surely the year where the ‘unknown long-term impacts of vaping’ narrative begins to erode and disappear. We now have a decade of data, and much of it is positive and from respected and high-profile organisations.”

Robert Sidebottom, Managing Director at Adact Medical, believes that the issue of shortfills will be at the top of the regulatory agenda. He remarks: “It is critical that the issues surrounding shortfill compliance and safety are addressed for the benefit of the industry and consumers. The Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Trading Standards must set out a robust approach to tackle shortfill products that are a risk to public health and damage the industry as a whole. The requests for shortfills to be tested and submitted under TPD is encouraging as it demonstrates a desire to legitimise the products.”

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the industry looks to how Brexit will shape the regulatory landscape of the vaping market. Christian Mulcahy, Business Development Director at MultiCig, suggests there is an opportunity to review the strict TPD regulations and says: “The world is very much looking to the UK in terms of creating sensible and proportionate regulation around these products.”

“There are arbitrary decisions which have been imposed by the European directive,” he explains. “An example is nicotine strength – we have a restriction where the maximum nicotine strength is 20 milligrams [per millilitre, or mg/ml]. Heavy smokers, such as those who consume an entire packet of cigarettes or more per day, cannot benefit from vaping as a means to stop smoking because the liquid is too weak. 30mg or 40mg nicotine strengths may be needed to meet their requirements, which will allow them to vape less often.”

Will Hill, Head of Legal and External Affairs at British American Tobacco UK & Ireland, agrees that there will be opportunities in the year ahead to assess the regulations surrounding the industry. He says: “2018 is a crucial year for the e-cigarette industry in the UK.  With the opportunity to review the current marketing and product restrictions that Brexit presents, it is vital that we continue to champion the potential public health benefits and major fiscal opportunities that the sector brings to the UK.”

He adds that, “British American Tobacco has been manufacturing and selling tobacco products since 1904. As such, we believe we understand adult smokers and their preferences better than anyone else, and are therefore well placed to offer products that fulfil the needs of adult smokers looking to move on to vaping products.”

Andrej Kuttruf, Founder of retail chain Evapo, is amongst a number of vaping retailers looking at significant store expansion during the year. He comments: “Like many other retailers we are planning major investment in our retail portfolio doubling it to around 55 stores. 2018 will see the continued emergence of national vaping retail brands on our high streets.”

John Dunne, Managing Director at E-Liquid Brands, believes that 2018 will see innovative developments within the grocery market to respond to the growth of the vaping retail brands.

He says: “The grocery retail market is going to have to think more innovatively when it comes to the category if they are to continue to have a decent slice of the market share. In particular, they will need to make more space for the category, for example looking at how they use the gantry area effectively for promoting and selling vape products. There are now innovative displays being sold which bundle a number of manufacturers products together and we’re seeing the emergence of in-store concepts.”

New study reveals that long-term vaping has no adverse health effects

The mounting public health evidence for vaping continues to grow, as a new 24-month clinical trial has found no negative health impact on former-smokers, who had been vaping for two years.

The study, led by UKVIA member Fontem Ventures, looked into the impact of e-cigarettes on a group of 209 volunteer former-smokers over 24 months, by monitoring lung function, electrocardiogram results, and exposure to nicotine and tobacco constituents, as well as any adverse effects.

Results from the clinical trial demonstrated no serious safety concerns or medically concerning findings among the participants. The use of the vaping products during the study was also associated with a reduction in nicotine withdrawal symptoms, reduced exposure to cigarette smoke, and no increase in body weight.

Tanvir Walele, Director of Scientific Affairs at Fontem Ventures, the owner of e-cigarette brand Blu said: “This study shows that after two years of continual e-cigarette use, there were no signs of serious health complications in smokers. Governments and policy-makers should ensure that regulatory frameworks reflect this emerging scientific consensus, as more long term research demonstrates the safety profile of e-cigarettes.”

“This research suggests we need e-cigarette regulation that is not modelled on tobacco product regulation, but encourages innovation and compliance with robust product quality, manufacturing and safety standards.”

A UKVIA spokesperson welcomed the study: “this is yet more scientific support for what many in the public health community already know; vaping is vastly safer than smoking and an effective tool for those smokers looking to make the life-changing move towards quitting smoking.”

The full study can be read here.

Science and Technology Committee receives first evidence for E-cigarette Inquiry

The Science and Technology Committee Inquiry on E-Cigarettes has begun with the first evidence sessions in Parliament.

Announced on 25 October 2017, the inquiry aims to “examine the impact of electronic cigarettes on human health (including their effectiveness as a stop-smoking tool), the suitability of regulations guiding their use, and the financial implications of a growing market on both business and the NHS.”

The committee, chaired by Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, heard from leading science and medical professionals on the relative health benefits of the vaping, the prevalence of heat-not-burn products and the role that e-cigarettes could play in smoking cessation.

Witnesses included:

  • Professor Peter Hajek, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Queen Mary University of London (who features in the APPG report & spoke at our reception in November)
  • Professor Mark Conner, Professor in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Leeds
  • Professor Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catania
  • Dr Lion Shahab, Senior Lecturer of Health Psychology at the University College London
  • Professor Paul Aveyard, Co-ordinating Editor at The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction
  • Dr Jamie Brown, Deputy Director of the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, University College London

The discussion surrounding e-cigarettes was very positive. The relative safety of vape products in comparison to combustible tobacco has essentially been accepted as fact by the committee, with concerns remaining only around the risk of renormalizing smoking – a topic that was well addressed by the witnesses.

When asked on the benefits of switching from conventional smoking to e-cigarettes, Professor Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catalana said: “the evidence shows very clearly that we see a lot of benefits after many years of exclusively using these products.”

Professor Peter Hajek, Professor of clinical psychology at Queen Mary University of London, agreed that some health risks could yet emerge, but at the moment research had found there were “none at all”.

The UKVIA welcomed this Inquiry and the opportunity to present the mounting evidence for the public health benefits of vaping.

Full footage of the 2-hour session can be seen here.

Can Britain go smoke-free?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of smokers make pledges to give up cigarettes at New Year. What is less usual is for a tobacco company to make the same commitment. But that is precisely what UKVIA member Phillip Morris Limited (PML) did in early January.

The company, which is the UK affiliate of Philip Morris International (PMI), took out full page adverts in national newspapers declaring its ambition to try to give up cigarettes and then spelt out four commitments that would help Britain to go smoke-free faster. By making these public, PML hopes to demonstrate their commitment to the biggest change their company, and the tobacco industry, will have ever seen.

The advertisement was the latest development in the company’s global shift towards a smoke-free future, having invested more than £2.5 billion in developing new alternative products over the past decade. These include their existing e-cigarette brands – and new product MESH that is already being trialled in the UK – as well as heat-not-burn devices – including IQOS that was launched a year ago.

One of the pledges committed the company to seek Government approval to insert, directly into cigarette packs, information on quitting and on switching, for those that cannot quit. That is a technique that has proved effective in other countries in persuading smokers to switch but that is currently not allowed under UK regulations. Another was to support local cessation services in the areas with the highest smoking prevalence.

Peter Nixon, PML’s Managing Director believes that ensuring smokers have better information about the choices available is vital: “one of the biggest challenges we face is to help smokers make informed decisions. There is no way to reach out to even our own customers under current regulations, no matter what the objective”.

PMI understands why many will be sceptical about the company’s smoke-free commitments, but Peter Nixon is clear that the company “will spare no effort to convince smokers, who have otherwise been unable to quit, to switch to smoke-free alternatives. However, we cannot achieve this alone. It is crucial that regulatory and public health authorities recognise the potential of alternatives to smoking, such as vaping, to deliver this future”.

PMI hope that the combination of measures both to discourage people taking up smoking in the first place and to encourage smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, to instead switch to smoke-free alternatives will result in a major acceleration towards a smoke-free world.  Indeed, PMI estimates that replacing cigarettes with smoke-free products could reduce smoking of their traditional combustible tobacco products by 40% within a decade.

So can Britain go smoke-free in the foreseeable future? Recent research found that England could achieve smoke-free status (defined as less than 5% smoking) as early as 2029. To achieve that ambitious deadline, two key changes would be needed: first, a significant expansion in the number of smokers going through NHS Stop Smoking service; second, far greater numbers of smokers switching to smoke-free alternatives including e-cigarettes and other emerging technologies. The study carried out by Frontier Economics can be found here.

Peter Nixon, Managing Director of PML commented: “We want a smoke-free country as soon as possible – 2040 is too long to wait. We believe that innovative technologies including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco offer the Government more opportunities to accelerate progress towards its smoke-free target.”

New public health potential for vaping

Vaping looks set to remain the hot topic for public health research in 2018, as a group of leading health bodies and charities investigate how e-cigarettes can benefit people with mental health conditions.

In its Statement on Electronic Cigarettes, the UK based Mental Health & Smoking Partnership revealed that smoking is around ‘twice as common among people with mental health conditions as in the general population’ and that alternatives like vaping should be made the easier choice.

Professor Ann McNeill, co-chair of the partnership, said “E-cigarettes provide a new opportunity for people to move away from smoking and avoid the terrible burden of death and disease it causes.”

The partnership aims to reduce smoking rates among people with a mental health condition to 5% by 2035. A reduction has already been seen at the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, where Lesley Colley, Project Manager of Nicotine Management and Smoking Cessation, points to e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapies contributing to a decrease in the smoking rate from 43% to 28%.

Alyssa Best, Cancer Research UK’s policy adviser, said the Government has committed to tackling the extremely high smoking rates among people with mental health conditions in the Tobacco Control Plan for England.

“E-cigarettes offer another opportunity for smokers with mental health conditions that haven’t been able to stop using other methods. They should be offered as a legitimate method of quitting across all mental health settings” she said.

First speakers announced UKVIA’s Going for Growth Forum

The first speakers and panellists have been confirmed for the UKVIA’s first Going for Growth Forum 2018 on 23 April 2018 at the Kings Fund in London.

The Industry Forum will look at what the sector can do to maximise its full potential for the benefit of the public health of the nation, the vaping industry and the economy.

They include:

  • Mark Pawsey, MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for E-cigarettes.
  • Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics, Institute for Economic Affairs
  • Clive Bates, Director, Counterfactual Consulting Limited
  • Peter Alcock, Enforcement Officer in Regulatory Delivery, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Gareth Johnson, MP Dartford and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
  • Craig Copland, E-Cigarette Unit Manager, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • Tim Phillips, Director, ECigIntelligence.com
  • Dr Lynne Dawkins, Associate Professor, London South Bank University
  • Sarah Jakes, Board member, New Nicotine Alliance
  • Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns, The Freedom Association
  • John Dunne, Managing Director, E-Liquid Brands
  • Martin Miller, Sales Director, AYR
  • Danny Sohota, Managing Director, Real Trading
  • Doug Mutter, Manufacturing & Compliance Director, Vaporized

For more information on the event programme please visit the UKVIA Forum website page and book your place here.

UKVIA Member supports local cancer charity

Adact Medical, a Doncaster-based compliance agency and UKVIA member, finished 2017 with a goodwill gesture of £1000 donation to local charity FireFly.

FireFly provides free transport to Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield for cancer patients and their families and is a chosen charity of Doncaster Council’s Civic Mayor, Councillor George Derx.

Councillor George Derx said: “Firefly is one of the charities that I have chosen to support during my year in office so I am delighted to accept this very generous donation from Adact Medical.”

Robert Sidebottom, Managing Director of Adact Medical said: “The opportunity to present this award to FireFly is a privilege, as it allows us to say thank you for the support they gave our founder Damien Bove’s father-in-law George, in taking him to hospital during his cancer treatment.”

“As a major player in the vaping sector we are looking to do our bit for cancer by encouraging people to make the switch from smoking to vaping.”

At the double

Membership of the UKVIA has almost doubled in the last six months as the industry body and marketplace go from strength to strength.

Latest members to join include:

  • Adact Medical, a leading supplier of compliance services in the European and North American vaping/E-cigarettes market providing end to end solutions with regards to TPD and FDA compliance, rules, guidelines and directives.
  • Xyfil, a leading white label manufacturer of e-liquids.
  • AYR, producer of a smart vaporiser which automatically refills and charges itself
  • Blend and Bottle, one of the largest UK e-liquid manufacturers supporting hundreds of companies around the world with premium OEM e-liquids
  • Electronic Tobacconist, one of the biggest online vape shops in the UK
  • Juki Vape, manufacturer of e-liquids for multiple retailers and distributors in the UK.

John Dunne, UKVIA board member, said: “The UKVIA is now a major voice in the sector. During 2018 we will be building on our work to date to raise awareness in the political and public health arenas regarding the important role that vaping is playing in helping smokers quit.”

“This is an exciting time for the Association as we will be staging our first Going for Growth Forum on 23rd April 2018 at the King’s Fund in London, which will be focussed on realising the full potential of vaping for public health, our industry and the economy.”