UKVIA welcomes new “Delivering Smoke Free 2030” report
- APPG on Smoking and Health’s report contains recommendations for expanded use of vaping to help people quit
- UKVIA leading calls for misperceptions about vaping to be addressed
Plans to eradicate smoking in Britain that include recommendations for the wider use of vaping to help people quit have been welcomed by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health has just published a new report, “Delivering a Smoke Free 2030” where it warns the Government must act fast to achieve this aim.
The report follows hot on the heels of comments made by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty who pointed out that smoking-related illnesses have killed more people than covid in the last year.
the UKVIA, which promotes vaping as a much less harmful alternative to smoking and its huge role in helping smokers quit as well as dispelling the misinformation on vaping that exists, said the report was an important document that acknowledged the vital role vaping has played in reducing UK smoking prevalence.
“We warmly welcome this report and endorse efforts and recommendations designed to encourage smokers to make a less harmful choice,” said John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA.
“As the UK’s largest trade association representing the fast-growing vaping industry, we are pleased to see among the recommendations proposals for the expanded use of e-cigarettes, which have been proven to be the most effective quit method and have helped more than one million British smokers to transition from combustible tobacco in the last decade.”
The report is published to coincide with a Parliamentary debate where MPs will have the chance to scrutinise the APPG on Smoking and Health’s proposals.
Among those proposals are a series of recommendations for vaping, such as:
- Standardising access to Stop Smoking Services including vaping
- Providing e-cigarette vouchers to smokers, especially in social groups known to have a high smoking prevalence
- Ensuring young people and “never smokers” do not start vaping
- Addressing common misperceptions about vape products, such as the mistaken belief they are “as harmful as cigarettes”.
John Dunne continued: “Many of the concerns raised in the report – together with recommendations to tackle those challenges – are issues on which the UKVIA and the APPG on Smoking and Health, together with its secretariat partner, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), are aligned on many points.
“For instance, we fully support calls for proactively contacting smokers with universally available quit advice and resources, which chime with our own ambitions to bring the NHS and vaping into closer alignment.
“We are also all for providing smokers with e-cigarette vouchers in an extension of a scheme which has been proven to significantly increase quit attempts and successes.
“We know too that population behaviour changes can be driven by mass media campaigns with potentially huge impacts on smokers’ habits and agree with the APPG’s finding that such activity is both effective and cost-effective.”
Turning to the issue of vaping, smoking and young people, the UKVIA applauded the APPG’s reporting, which states: “Concerns that use of e-cigarettes among young people would grow rapidly and provide a new pathway into smoking have not materialised in the UK to date.”
“The APPG has demonstrated exceptional insight on this highly sensitive subject,” said Dunne. “The UKVIA has championed stringent youth access prevention to vaping products, not least through our own “Challenge 25” programme amongst our retail membership.”
He added: “What’s more, a section of our membership are market-leading specialists in the very latest in age restriction solutions and emerging digital ID technology, for both online and offline retail settings.”
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is currently reviewing the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR) laws which govern sales of nicotine products, including e-cigarettes.
The UKVIA submitted a landmark package of recommendations to this review, aimed at maximising the public health benefits of vaping and bolstering ambitions for a “Smoke Free 2030”.
The document, A Blueprint for Better Regulation, urges Government to use its post-Brexit independence to become a world leader in harm reduction.
The UKVIA’s document also calls for wider promotion of vaping, for example through the use of Government-approved, expert health claims on products, to encourage smokers to switch and greater opportunities to engage with smokers as current restrictions also deter those who may otherwise make the switch.
In addition, it addresses serious concerns over widespread misperceptions that persist around vaping, an issue also underlined in the APPG on Smoking and Health’s report which states that 42% of smokers who have never tried vaping wrongly believe it is equally or more harmful than smoking when, in reality, it is at least 95% less harmful according to Public Health England.
Dunne continued: “Our position is the Government’s smoke free targets can be put firmly back on track by encouraging more of the UK’s 7m smokers to consider vaping as a method of quitting conventional cigarettes.
“For far too long vaping has suffered from myths and misconceptions about both their safety and effectiveness in helping smokers to quit. That situation must now change and we watch with interest to see how the APPG on Smoking and Health’s recommendations are received by Government.”