The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has welcomed a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health which measure the healthiness of shops on the high street.
The RSPH developed a ‘Richter Scale of Health’ to rank the impact of different outlets on health and the potential cumulative effect these outlets could have on a local population. They then ranked high streets in terms of the ten ''healthiest'' and ''unhealthiest'' in the UK, as well as in London.
The report states ‘’As vape shops contribute heavily to the public profile of e-cigarettes, they are ideally placed to play a central role in their promotion towards smokers who want to quit but have not yet tried vaping. This is important because, although it is by some distance the most popular quitting method, there remains much misunderstanding around the relative harms of vaping: only 17% of the public (and 25% of smokers) correctly believe that e-cigarettes are a lot less harmful than smoking.’’
There are a number of recommendations contained in the report which the IBVTA welcomes. The RSPH make specific mention of vape shops ensuring all customers who smoke are aware of their local stop smoking service. They call on Facebook and Google to provide discounted advertising opportunities to local, independent health-promoting businesses. And that Councils set differential rent classes for tenants based on how health-promoting their business offer is.
As we have always argued, vape shops are one of the few signs of positive growth on high streets across the UK. As well as providing jobs and paying business rates and other taxes, they are providing a valuable service – helping people switch from smoking to a significantly less harmful alternative.
Responding to the report, IBVTA Chief Executive Gillian Golden said, ‘’The high street vape shop is now firmly at the front line in getting smokers off smoking by switching them to vaping, so we warmly welcome the positive ranking that the RSPH places on vape shops in their report. We would also echo their calls for better supports for vape businesses from councils. However, strict advertising rules prevent the full promotion of vaping which could yield even better public health results, if only it were possible to utilise social media and other traditional advertising outlets.’’
Ian Green of Southampton Vaping Centre and Chair of the IBVTA Vendors Committee said, ‘’Vape shops partnering with local stop smoking services is something which many of our members already do, however there are still some services which have not yet embraced the evidence on vaping. Hopefully the RSPH report goes some way to rectifying the misperceptions that exist about these products.’’