Write to your local MP ahead of Thursday’s Tobacco Control Plan (TCP) Debate in Parliament

Write to your local MP ahead of Thursday’s Tobacco Control Plan (TCP) Debate in Parliament

The UKVIA will be writing to MPs encouraging them to champion the public health benefits of vaping as the Department of Health and Social Care looks to publish a new Tobacco Control Plan later this year, to support the Government’s Smokefree 2030 ambition.

We are encouraging vaping advocates across the UK to write to their local MPs ahead of Thursday’s 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 ‘Recommendations for the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan (TCP)’. This will take place on Thursday, 10th June at 1:30pm and I would be grateful if you would attend the debate to add your support in promoting vaping as a less harm alternative to smoking.

The upcoming debate is a huge opportunity to build upon the work already underway to give recognition to the UK’s vaping industry and 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] and the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan is a chance to see this number decrease further, particularly in light of an uptake during the pandemic period.

In order to reduce the number of smokers nationally, the vaping 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 main points to be made:

  1. The Government must seize the opportunity presented by the UK having left the European Union. With the ongoing review of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR), and the forthcoming TCP, the Government has the opportunity to diverge from EU law governing tobacco and nicotine policy to level up on health inequalities across the UK. Independence allows for UK regulations to stay relevant, be easily adapted to changing consumer trends and any market and technological developments, with greater ease and less bureaucracy.

 

  1. The Government’s forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan should be based on the significant and growing body of evidence showing vaping to be an effective alternative for smokers looking to quit and should cement the concept of harm reduction, placing the UK as the global leader in tobacco harm reduction. Vaping is twice as effective as other Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as gum and patches [2]. Research from University College London has found that e-cigarettes, in one year alone, helped an additional 50-70,000 smokers in England quit [3]. 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 [4]. This is despite ONS data from Great Britain showing that over half of smokers want to quit [5].

 

  1. Misinformation and misperceptions about the relative risk of e-cigarettes must be challenged at every opportunity. To do so, the Government must work with industry leaders to develop a series of policies that can help the vaping industry communicate directly with existing adult smokers. It is suggested that approved health claims and switching messages, alongside nicotine health warnings, should be available to vape manufacturers and retailers, to communicate the facts about vaping. Such claims and messages could be used on both device and e-liquid packaging, as well as on posters and leaflets. Similar proposals have been made by the Government’s of New Zealand and Canada.

 

  1. In light of the University of East Anglia’s study to trial e-cigarettes in NHS A&E departments, greater support is also needed for medical practitioners. The new TCP should support medical professionals by ensuring that clinicians are signposted to the latest clinical evidence on e-cigarettes and that local stop smoking clinics adopt a consistent approach to the advice given smokers looking to switch to less harmful alternatives and/or quit smoking combustible cigarettes.

Whilst on one hand the current regulations and the existing TCP 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 preventing the Government achieving the aims set out in the Tobacco Control Plan. Parliamentarians should therefore be advocating for fair and proportionate policies and regulations of e-cigarettes to help reduce inequalities and improve public health.

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,

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