Dear Secretary of State
UK Negotiations to Leave the European Union
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) is the UK’s leading trade association for the vape industry, and the only one dedicated exclusively to the independent sector.
There is never a situation where it is better to smoke than it is to vape and we now know that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking according to Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of Physicians .
Vaping is a disruptive technology when it comes to tobacco. Already 2.9 million smokers have switched to vaping, of whom 1.5 million have stopped smoking completely , producing a financial gain for society of at least £108 billion . This should be a cause for celebration.
Recently, PHE stated: “England is leading the world in maximising the benefits of vaping.” 
Currently, vape products (e-cigarettes and e-liquids) are disproportionately regulated and this prevents the full potential of vaping being reached.
Vape products in the UK are regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) – the UK’s implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive. These regulations impose the following restrictions:
- E-liquid can only be sold in bottles no bigger than 10ml,
- Tanks on vaping devices are restricted to a maximum of 2ml,
- All nicotine containing e-liquids to have been tested and notified with the MHRA,
- All vape products to be sold with the following warning, even if they do not contain nicotine when sold: “The product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.”
- Nicotine strength is restricted to a maximum of 20mg/ml, and
- There are severe restrictions on the advertising of vape products.
As a responsible trade association, IBVTA and our members are not opposed to regulation. Some aspects of the TRPR, namely the testing and notification of e-liquids are sensible. However, restrictions on bottle and tank sizes, restrictions on nicotine strengths, and advertising bans, far from making vaping more attractive to smokers or even less harmful compared to smoking, instead make vaping less attractive, more expensive, and will have no impact on the limited risk associated with vaping.
There is a thriving independent vape industry in the UK providing consumers with a wide range of quality vape products. According to one recent study, vaping is now the fastest growing industry in the UK  and, after the United States, the UK is the second largest market for vape products in the world. At a local level, vape shops are one of the few areas of growth on our high streets .
Despite this success, some 7.2 million people in the UK still smoke and these regulations will make it harder for some smokers to switch to vaping.
Therefore, when negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Government must not agree to any deal where the UK is still bound by EU tobacco control policy, including the TPD and the EU’s tobacco excise regime. If this can be achieved, the Government would then be able to:
- Remove restrictions on bottle sizes,
- Remove restrictions on tank sizes,
- Remove restrictions on nicotine strengths,
- Revert to the advertising restrictions set out in the Committee on Advertising Practice guidance, originally published on the 9th October 2014, and
- Only have nicotine warning labels on products that actually contain nicotine at point of sale.
The UK’s independent vape industry has a global reputation for quality and innovation. Combine this with the enlightened approach many in the public health field have taken towards vaping and the positive attitudes within PHE, the MHRA, and the Department of Health, then the UK really does have the potential to become a global leader in vaping; both in terms of shaping the global policy environment, and also in terms of generating exports and boosting the UK economy.
This tremendous opportunity will only be realised if the regulatory and fiscal environment in which our industry operates is proportionate. In order for this to be achieved we need a Brexit deal that will allow vaping to achieve its full potential.
 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review and https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/nicotine-without-smoke-tobacco-harm-reduction-0
 In its Impact assessment for the TPD, the Department of Health (England) estimates the average discounted value for the benefit of quitting smoking to £72,000 per successful quit arising from longer life [April 2016 – paragraph 76 Annex A]. This is a significant financial gain for society and significantly exceeds the revenue lost to government from a smoker quitting (£11,000) [April 2016 – paragraph 72 Annex A].