Write to your local MP ahead of Thursday’s Smokefree 2030 Debate

The UKVIA will be writing to MPs encouraging them to champion the public health benefits of the vaping industry in supporting the Government’s Smokefree 2030 ambition.

We are encouraging vaping advocates across the UK to write to their local MPs ahead of this debate. Below is a copy of the letter, ready to be signed and emailed to your MP.

You can find your local MP’s contact details here.

 

Dear [LOCAL MP],

This week in the House of Commons a debate will be taking place on ‘Achieving the ambition for a smokefree England by 2030. In light of Covid-19 pandemic and public health reorganisation’. This will take place on Thursday, 12th November.

The upcoming debate is a huge opportunity to refocus efforts in ensuring that England achieves its aim of becoming smokefree by 2030. The UK is estimated to have a smoking prevalence of 14.1%.[1] In order to reduce the number of smokers nationally, the industry is calling on the Government to fully recognise the role that the UK’s vaping industry plays in harm reduction and reducing the number of smokers. This debate offers the opportunity for the following three main points to be made:

Firstly, vaping is twice as effective as other Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as gum and patches.[2] Indeed, Action on Smoking and Health has identified that over 3 million people in Great Britain now vape[3], and research from University College London has found that e-cigarettes, in one year alone, helped an additional 50-70,000 smokers in England quit[4]. Despite the overwhelming and growing evidence in support of e-cigarettes, perceptions of harm from vaping among smokers are increasingly incorrect and out of line with the evidence.[5] This is despite ONS data from Great Britain showing that over half of smokers want to quit.[6]

Secondly, concerns of the lack of clarity following the decision to disband Public Health England (PHE) and the proposed remit for the National Institute for Health Protection are understandable. PHE has made a considerable contribution to harm reduction and smoking cessation in recent years. Their support of vaping as a harm reduction tool and its evidence-based approach has provided many adult smokers with the reassurance they have needed to explore the full range of smoking-cessation options available to them. It is vital that PHE’s invaluable institutional knowledge is not lost. This would be to the detriment of the UK’s millions of smokers and vapers and cannot be allowed to happen.

Thirdly, it is also of huge disappointment that Government have once again classified vape stores as non-essential during this second national lockdown. Consequently, millions of vapers and ex-smokers will have much more limited access to the vital expert support available from stop-smoking specialists in shops across England and runs the risk of adult vapers returning to smoking conventional cigarettes. This decision is contrary to those taken in neighbouring countries, such as Germany and France, where both have recognised the need to continue to support ex-smokers throughout this challenging time and have allowed vape stores to remain open.

Many businesses have continued to support the implementation of Government measures in order to remain Covid secure throughout this crisis. Vape store closures are an economic setback for this growing industry, and it seems illogical that consumers can purchase alcohol through takeaway services, yet e-cigarette users are prevented access to their local vape store. It is hoped that you support the UKVIA’s calls that Government reclassifies vape stores for this and any future lockdowns as essential stores and allows them to remain open.

Looking beyond this debate, the Department of Health will carry out a review process of the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations (TRPR) – the legislation which governs the vaping industry. Whilst on one hand the current regulations have allowed the vaping industry in the UK to flourish, on the other, they have hindered the ability of the vaping sector to promote vaping as an effective way of switching to a less harmful alternative, thereby helping the Government achieve the aims set out in the Tobacco Control Plan. Parliamentarians should therefore be advocating for fair and proportionate TRPR regulations.

To summarise, the key asks:

  • Promote the smoke-free 2030 ambition, with the use of all reduced risk nicotine alternatives to cigarettes.
  • Call on the Government to fully recognise the public health benefits of vaping.
  • Continue to challenge the misinformation around vaping to build public confidence, and ensure that smokers and vapers get the facts about the alternatives available to them.
  • Support the reclassification of vape stores as essential during this, and any future, national lockdowns.
  • Advocate for fair and proportionate changes during the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations review, supported by the UK’s largest trade body.

It is hoped that you might consider speaking in the upcoming debate, adding your voice to the growing numbers in support of vaping as an effective way of helping adults stop smoking.

Yours sincerely,

[1] Office for National Statistics, 2020 Link

[2] Queen Mary, University of London 2019 Link

[3] Action on Smoking and Health, 2018 Link

[4] University College London, 2019 Link

[5] Action on Smoking and Health, 2019 Link

[6] Office for National Statistics, 2020 Link

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