The Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, chaired by Norman Lamb MP, has today published its E-Cigarettes Inquiry Report.
The report lays out a number of recommendations to the Government, including that some of the current regulations on vaping products be reviewed once the UK leaves the European Union.
The IBVTA welcomed the announcement in October 2017 that the Committee would be launching an inquiry into vaping. Though there were reservations about some topics included in the scope of the inquiry, it represented a rare and important opportunity for the independent vape industry to have its say about the current and post-Brexit regulatory landscape for vaping.
The UK’s independent vape industry has a global reputation for quality and innovation. This industry is willing to shoulder its responsibilities and can and should be trusted to deliver the full potential of vaping. The IBVTA re-enforced this when our Chairman, Fraser Cropper gave evidence to the Committee. However, this tremendous opportunity will only be realised if the regulatory and fiscal environment in which the industry operates is proportionate.
It is therefore welcome that Science and Technology Committee’s report recommends that the limits on tank sizes and nicotine strengths be lifted, and that the advertising of the relative risks of vaping products be allowed, in order that smokers are better informed about the benefits of switching to vaping.
The report cites our Chairman setting out the IBVTA's position on advertising on page 30:
''To tie a hand behind our back and not allow us to be able to promote our products, to seize even more of those smokers out of the hands of the tobacco businesses, does not make sense. We are in a regulated space; we are protecting our consumers because of that. It should, therefore, also allow for confidence that we can continue to deliver those products and services in an ethical and responsible way.
Vaping does not make anybody better per se; it significantly reduces the risk of what a smoker is exposed to. It is a relative health claim. It is not a health claim in the singular sense that it makes somebody better.''
The Report also recommends that a wider debate take place on vaping in public places, and that NHS England develop a central NHS policy on vaping in mental health trusts.
Fraser Cropper, Chair of the IBVTA said:
‘’The Commons Select Committee’s report rightfully holds to account the need for a regulatory framework for vaping which is risk based. Most welcome is their call for the restrictions on nicotine strengths and tank sizes to be lifted, so that the independent industry can deliver the kinds of products we know will switch more smokers away from smoking.
There was never going to be a positive outcome from the advertising restrictions placed on vaping businesses, given that they denied smokers access to information about these safer products and further entrenched the dominant position of the tobacco industry. Whether this report will have any influence on Government policy remains to be seen, but acting on these specific recommendations would go a long way to reversing the incorrect perceptions about vaping that have taken hold.’’
Ian Green, Chair of the IBVTA’s Vendors Committee and owner of Southampton Vaping Centre said:
‘’The independent vape industry has long argued that vaping has been hampered by disproportionate regulation and what seems like sustained and deliberate attempts to conflate it with smoking. This report pulls no punches that there is now an onus to recognise that vaping is not smoking, and rules and regulations on their use in public places and in mental health settings should be risk based rather than perception based.
We also hope the Government take into consideration the public health opportunity that arises if independent vaping businesses could advertise the benefits of vaping to the 7.4 million remaining smokers in the UK.’’
IBVTA’s Written evidence to the Select Committee:
IBVTA’s Supplementary evidence to the Select Committee regarding medicinally licenced vaping products: