Yesterday, at the Royal Society for Public Health Awards, a new film aimed at politicians and public health professionals, made by ITN Productions with the support of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) was premiered in front of an audience that included leading figures from the world of public health, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, Steve Brine MP and his Labour shadow, Sharon Hodgson MP.
This film, which features independent industry and leading public health professionals, highlights not just the benefits to smokers who choose to switch to vaping, but also the benefits to health budgets and wider society. Critically, with nine million smokers across the UK, the film looks at why more smokers are not switching to vaping and what the Government and others could do to help.
Specifically, the film highlights the fact that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, and calls on the Government to speak openly that when it comes to vaping there is a clear message, that vaping is endorsed, that vaping is significantly less harmful (than smoking), and that smokers can have the confidence to switch.
While we may disagree with much of the regulation relating to vape products in the UK, it is important to acknowledge, that compared to many countries we are very fortunate with the approach the UK Government has taken towards vaping. However, if vaping is to achieve its full potential then the Government needs to go further:
- Advertising restrictions that prevent the industry responsibly advertising their products and adequately informing vapers and smokers about the limited harm associated with vaping need to be removed.
- The existing Tobacco and Related Product Regulations need to be enforced at a national and local level.
- At the earliest opportunity, the existing regulations need to be replaced with a proportionate, risk-based, and vape specific regulatory regime.
- Government ministers and others in public health need to speak out more to challenge the misperceptions that exist amongst growing numbers of the public and smokers about the harm associated with vaping.