The UK Vaping Industry Association notes with concern the Government’s publication of regulations regarding vaping in Northern Ireland. The ‘Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020’ mean that the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will continue to be applied in Northern Ireland after the Brexit Withdrawal Period. The UKVIA recently wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on this matter.
While the TPD is currently transposed into UK law as the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR), the Government has committed to a review of the TRPR by May 2021.
The UKVIA has two main concerns with the proposed change. Firstly, the creation of a two-tiered regulatory landscape across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the former reviewing TRPR and the latter adhering to TPD, could seriously undermine the public health potential of vaping.
Secondly, there is also concern from UK vaping businesses, that such an approach will increase the cost and complexity of providing vaping products for the Northern Irish market. This may reduce the access consumers have to harm-reduction tools and impact smoking cessation rates.
UKVIA Director General, John Dunne responded to the regulatory development with concern:
“With the TPD set to be revised in the next few years, it is possible that a more hostile regulatory landscape will emerge regarding vaping in the EU, in which access and information is further restricted.
“If Northern Ireland were to be locked-in to these regulations it could be hugely detrimental to vapers and smokers looking to quit, and would undermine the significant progress the UK as a whole has made to date in reducing smoking rates.
“The UKVIA calls on Government to make assurances to businesses and consumers, that the UK’s public health will not be undermined by EU regulation post-Brexit.”