The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has emphatically supported the findings of the latest Public Health England (PHE) evidence review into vaping in England, calling it a defining moment for the vaping industry and its contribution to public health across the country.
The annual review reinforces vaping’s hugely effective role in smoking-cessation, as well as the low rate of use among underage ‘never-smokers’.
As vaping enters one of the most pivotal periods in the industry’s history with the forthcoming review of the Tobacco & Related Products Regulations following Brexit, the report shows great successes in harm-reduction and smoking cessation linked to vaping products.
In every region of the country, quit rates among adult smokers were found to be higher with the use of vaping than other products, ranging from 49% success in the South West to 78% in Yorkshire and the Humber.
PHE state that NRT use among long-term former smokers is declining, while the use of vaping products increases. Citing data from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the review highlights that the most common reasons given for vaping were to quit combustible cigarettes (29.7%), stay off cigarettes after quitting (19.4%) and to reduce tobacco consumption (11.2%).
Flavours remain an important driver for those using vaping products, with 31.6% of vapers reporting fruit flavours to be their preference.
Uptake among ‘never-smoker’ youth remains very low, between 0.8% and 1.3%., with PHE confirming that this rate has not increased in recent years.
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, applauded the industry for what it has achieved following the publication of the review:
“This a defining moment for the vaping sector and truly shows the considerable progress it has made against a backdrop of significant misinformation around the industry, with Public Health England once again stating that perceptions of the harm caused by vaping compared with smoking are increasingly out of line with the evidence.
“This latest data, which the review is based upon, provides incontrovertible evidence as to the importance of vaping to successful smoking cessation and the nation’s public health.
Dunne also pointed to a number of challenges that need addressing by the industry and policy makers.
He said: “Despite the many positives in this report a great deal remains to be done. Action on Smoking and Health, for example, has found that just 11% of local authority stop smoking services are offering vaping products to some or all of those trying to quit smoking. With the clear efficacy of vaping evidenced in this report, we must ensure this figure grow.
“As an industry we also share PHE’s views on stronger enforcement in preventing underage sales. In our response to the Government’s TRPR consultation, which we will be publishing shortly, we call for fully-funded regional and national test purchasing schemes to better understand compliance and to help educate retailers on their legal requirements. The UKVIA has already published the first ever Preventing Underage Sales Guide for vape shops and online retailers which has been supported by Trading Standards.
Added Dunne: “The review’s finding that more than 50% of people believe vaping to be as harmful or more harmful than the use of combustible cigarettes, means we need to keep educating smokers about the fact that vaping is a fraction of the harm of smoking, has literally changed the lives of former smokers for the better and is acknowledged as one of the best ways to quit conventional cigarettes.
“In April, we will be launching VApril, our international consumer education campaign, which has now been running for four years. Initiatives like this are crucial to giving confidence and best advice to smokers looking to break a lifetime habit through switching to vaping. It’s also vital to breaking down barriers which arise through the misinformation which is published on vaping.”