UKVIA statement on the transferral of responsibilities from Public Health England and the future of harm reduction

The UK Vaping Industry Association would like to place on record its thanks for Public Health England’s (PHE) considerable contribution to harm reduction and smoking cessation in recent years. 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.

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 UKVIA completely acknowledges the need for new ways of working in combatting modern challenges and supports the Government’s prioritisation of public health.

It is further reassuring that Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock confirmed his ongoing commitment to health improvement while announcing the NIHP’s formation. This is a commitment which the UKVIA shares and thoroughly supports.

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 eent 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.

The UKVIA will continue to do its upmost to ensure that adult smokers and vapers have access to the high-quality products they need, as well as the reliable information and advice needed to empower their choices. Assistance in this regard from public health bodies is vital to ensuring that the positive potential of vaping is not squandered in the UK. We look forward to engaging constructively with all public health partners.

John Dunne | Director

UK Vaping Industry Association Website: |  @Vaping_Industry

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