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UKVIA: Welsh Government’s lack of support for vaping a “huge missed opportunity”

  • Newly published Wales Tobacco Control Strategy says it has “yet to develop a position on vaping”
  • UKVIA says it will continue to engage Welsh policy makers in light of support for vaping in other parts of the UK

The lack of support for vaping in a just-published plan to reduce smoking rates in Wales as the country attempts to achieve “smoke free 2030” status has been described as “a huge missed opportunity”.

That’s the view of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), the UK’s largest trade association representing the vaping industry, following publication of Wales’s Long Term Tobacco Control Strategy (TCS).

“While the strategy has much to applaud in terms of initiatives to reduce smoking rates in Wales, it is unfortunate and frustrating that the Welsh Government has not gone further and taken this golden opportunity to embrace and champion vaping as the best and most effective method to help people to quit smoking for good,” said John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA.

While the Wales TCS does reference vaping it is just a brief mention to say the Welsh Government needs to develop its position on e-cigarettes.

“For this reason, we will continue to engage with the Welsh Government as it formulates its stance towards vaping, using examples such as the recent Khan Review into smoking which concluded that promotion of vaping was absolutely pivotal if the UK was to achieve smoke free 2030,” continued Dunne.

The Wales TCS also references efforts to prevent children and young people from taking up smoking and vaping – a subject on which the UKVIA has campaigned intensely.

“We welcome the Welsh Government’s plans to prevent youth access to vaping,” said Dunne.

“As an Association, we have already been calling for the UK Government to get much tougher on retailers who sell vaping goods to youngsters, including introduction of stinging £10,000 fines for those caught doing so.”

Returning to the Wales TCS’s lack of support for vaping as a smoking cessation tool, Dunne added: “There is incontrovertible evidence out there about vaping’s effectiveness in helping adults to quit smoking for good, with support growing by the day from those in the fields of science, academia, healthcare and politics all now backing vaping as an important component in helping smokers to quit.

“So, while it is frustrating to not see the Welsh Government take a more positive view on vaping, the strategy leaves ample scope to engage with the politicians and policy makers there to demonstrate vaping’s value and help that country to achieve its own smoke free ambitions.”

He added: “Failure to do so could have serious consequences for Wales’s ability to curb smoking rates and hamper harm reduction efforts.”

Meanwhile in Scotland, a poll of 2,170 people (969 current or former tobacco smokers and 376 current or former vapers) found that 41% of respondents said that vaping helped them move away from cigerattes.

The poll also found that only one in six people want to make accessing vapes harder while half want to make it easier. This comes as the Scottish government consults on whether in-store promotional displays of e-cigarettes should be banned.

 

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