IBVTA statement on the Khan Review
Dr Javed Khan OBE today published his long awaited Independent review into the government’s ambition to make England smokefree by 2030.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, commissioned the review. It provides a set of recommendations for the government’s approach to reducing the numbers of people taking up smoking, and helping smokers to quit.
The review makes 15 recommendations and includes 4 critical recommendations:
- Urgently invest £125 million per year in a comprehensive smokefree 2030 programme. Options to fund this include a ‘polluter pays’ levy on the tobacco industry.
- Increase the age of sale of tobacco cigarettes by one year, every year.
- Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking, alongside accurate information on the benefits of switching, including to healthcare professionals.
- For the NHS to prioritise further action to stop people from smoking, by providing support and treatment across all its services, including primary care.
This is a further endorsement of the importance of the independent vape industry if the government is to achieve its smokefree goal. During the Covid epidemic our members very quickly adapted to online sales and local deliveries to ensure that smokers had the supplies they need to stay off smoking.
Disappointingly, the review recommends that a ban on online sales and flavour restrictions might be considered in the future. These measures would aim to prevent the uptake of vaping by young people. The IBVTA believe that better enforcement of age of sale regulations and greater penalties for irresponsible retailers who break the rules would be far more effective. This would also mean that vaping remains as attractive to adults that would otherwise smoke.
IBVTA members are already providing a choice of vaping products to a number of stop smoking services, NHS trusts and smoking cessation projects. All of these services call for quality, affordable products, supplied by businesses that are not affiliated with the tobacco industry. We are delighted therefore, to see one such case study, the Salford Swap to Stop pilot, highlighted in the review as an example of good practice.
The review calls for a £15 million to fund a nationwide, all year stop smoking campaign, including TV ads:
”The public understanding of the relative harms of vaping has worsened over time and is less accurate today than it was in 2014. So, campaigns should focus on switching to vaping as a safer alternative.”
More specifically on vaping, the Khan review makes more detailed recommendations.
- “Provide free Swap to Stop starter packs for deprived communities and people in social housing. Those who struggle to quit need as many routes as possible, including the choice of a vape they choose and pay for themselves”
- “Accelerate the path to prescribed vapes through medicinal licencing. This would complement the Swap to Stop packs, and give hesitant professionals and the public more confidence in their safety and effectiveness. However, the high cost of producing a medicinally licensed product needs to be addressed, and I am calling for innovation and collaboration to achieve this. The government should invest in the science and technology to support the process, supporting small independent businesses, while excluding the tobacco industry”
- “Modify advertising rules so vapes can be promoted as a less harmful product, particularly on the products themselves, and should allow vape shops to support campaigns like Stoptober. Smokers need to see more messages that switching to vapes is hugely beneficial to their health”
- “Reduce VAT on vaping devices”
IBVTA CEO Gillian Golden said: “The Khan review sets a wide range of recommendations to the government if the goal of becoming smokefree by 2030 is to be achieved. We particularly welcome the unequivocal call for the public and health professionals to have accurate information on the benefits of switching to vaping.
“This is the latest in a long line of calls for the government to put its weight behind the country’s most effective and cost effective quit tools. The IBVTA looks forward to working with government and public health stakeholders to support more smokers becoming smokefree.”