Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that Public Health England (PHE) is to be replaced by a new body specifically designed to protect the country versus the country’s pandemic. It is thought that the transition will be completed next Spring. The move has raised questions amongst the vaping industry as the PHE was a staunch advocate of the sector.
Many of PHE’s responsibilities will now be overseen by the newly formed National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), which will take a lead role in safeguarding the UK from novel health risks.
The UK Vaping Industry Association was quick to place on record its thanks for Public Health England’s (PHE) considerable contribution to harm reduction and smoking cessation in recent years following the announcement that it was being disbanded.
In a statement the UKVIA said: “The independent and progressive stance taken by PHE has undoubtedly improved the health of the nation and saved lives. In particular, PHE’s support of vaping as a vital harm-reduction tool ensures an admirable legacy of falling smoking rates in the UK, with all of the associated benefits to public health and the NHS. PHE’s evidence-based approach provided many adult smokers with the reassurance they needed to explore the full range of smoking-cessation options available to them.
“To protect the many successes of vaping in UK public health, as well as empowering further positive change in the future, it is vital that this progressive, evidence-based culture continues. Whenever responsibilities are transferred there is a risk that invaluable institutional knowledge and memory is lost. This would be to the detriment of the UK’s millions of smokers and vapers and cannot be allowed to happen in this case.
“The UKVIA therefore calls upon the custodians of PHE’s former responsibilities, in the event that they are indeed reallocated, to continue their positive approach towards harm-reduction technologies. Independent reviews, studies and statements, all focussed on facts rather than hearsay, have been a cornerstone of a successful British vaping industry which supports adult consumers to make a positive change for their health.”