The IBVTA welcomes new Royal College of Physicians report
The IBVTA welcome the new report published today by Royal College of Physicians, “Smoking and health 2021- A coming of age for tobacco control?”.
The report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the RCP contains several recommendations on vaping to be considered for the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England, and comes some 60 years after the RCP’s landmark 1962 report in which the harms of smoking were first brought to light.
As the report states, “…without a fundamental renewal of our commitment to eradicating smoking, the UK will not meet the Smokefree 2030 ambitions to reduce smoking prevalence to less than 5% across all sociodemographic groups in the coming decade.”
In 2020, when COVID-19 killed around 80,000 UK citizens, tobacco smoking killed 94,000. It is encouraging therefore to see the positioning of vaping as a positive tool in the fight against death and disease caused by smoking.
The report’s recommendations on vaping include:
- Reducing VAT on vaping products to 5%, in order to encourage those who continue to smoke to switch to non-tobacco nicotine
- Mass media campaigns to support the use of vaping as a quitting aid or harm reduction alternative, and to redress the false perceptions about the safety of e-cigarettes compared with cigarettes
The report makes special mention of the damage done to vaping on the back of misleading media reports from the US about the lung injury outbreak caused by illicit cannabis products.
- Include a statement that vapour is likely to be substantially less harmful than tobacco smoke on e-cigarette packaging
- Smoke-free policies should not be automatically extended to vaping
- Include vaping in standard protocols to treat tobacco dependence
On the topic of policy influence and lobbying, the report makes some very specific calls for transparency:
- Contributions (monetary or otherwise) from the tobacco industry or tobacco industry-funded third party organisations to political parties, government officials at all levels and all-party parliamentary groups are prohibited
- Tobacco companies are statutorily required to provide information to government on their political activities and associated expenditure including the names of organisations they fund
- Establish a lobbying register for the disclosure of any and all funding sources of individuals or organisations lobbying government on tobacco control
These recommendations are particularly welcome, given the potential of the tobacco industry influence on vaping policy to reduce the attractiveness of e-cigarettes in favour of their incumbent products. It is also vital that the influence of anti-vaping campaigners, including those from outside the UK, is not allowed to go unchecked. The IBVTA have always been transparent in our lobbying efforts, and we are the only trade body for vaping in the UK which is independent from the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry funding and influence.
Gillian Golden, IBVTA CEO said: “This new landmark RCP report correctly identifies that tobacco may still beat COVID-19 as the predominant cause of death and disease during the beginning of the 2020s. We welcome the Royal College of Physicians’ placement of vaping as such a pivotal tool in the fight against the harms of smoking, and the urgent call to correct misperceptions about the relative harms. The UK is a world leader in vaping and if our government heeds the RCP’s calls to action, we have the potential to go even further.”