Like many in the UK vaping community, we were very pleased to see this morning’s news stories, following the publication of a positive report on vaping by the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee. It made a welcome change from much of the scaremongering claptrap that usually gets reported with vaping news stories. During 2018, the committee have been gathering evidence from a range of experts. Their final report and recommendations were released today and make welcome reading for UK vapers. The report is overwhelmingly positive in its recognition that vaping has the potential to be a massive public health game-changer.
The report recognises that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they contain no tar or carbon monoxide. Norman Lamb, the chair of the committee said:
“Current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so. Concerns that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to conventional smoking, including for young non-smokers, have not materialised. If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS’s stop-smoking arsenal.”
By using only hard evidence, the report is a triumph of common-sense over all of the lies, scare-mongering and misinformation that has been a regular feature of mainstream media reports on vaping for the past few years. The report gives UK vapers and the vaping industry the hope of more support in the future. Here are the report’s main recommendations:
- Greater freedom for the vaping industry to advertise e-cigarettes.
- Relaxing regulations and tax on e-cigarettes to reflect their relative health benefits.
- Hold a debate on vaping in public spaces, such as public transport and hospitals.
- E-cigarettes could be licensed as medical devices and be made available on prescription.
- An end to the 18mg nicotine limit on e-liquids and 2ml tank sizes.
- There is no evidence e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking for young people.
- There is “negligible health risk” from second hand e-cigarette vapour.
- It is “unacceptable” that a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England have a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises. They are a health opportunity for patients.
The report puts the UK into a world-leading position on tobacco harm reduction. It is a ringing endorsement of the potential of vaping to drastically reduce the harm caused by the smoking of lit tobacco. There is also the clear potential that the post-brexit vaping industry can be set free of the EU TPD regulations. This would enable Vapable and hundreds of similar UK vaping businesses to become miles ahead of the rest of Europe by helping our citizens to move away from smoking and switch to vaping. Let’s hope that our government don’t just sit on this report, but take the necessary steps to put these sensible recommendations into action.