Government Action on Tobacco and Vaping
At the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday 4th October, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outlined various new smoking and vaping policies. The proposals include cracking down on illicit tobacco and vape sales and increasing funding both for local stop-smoking services and swap-to-stop campaigns.
The Conservative Stance
Referring to smoking as the single biggest cause of preventable death in the UK, Sunak said: "We have a chance to cut cancer deaths by a quarter, significantly ease those pressures, and protect our children, and we should take it."
As outlined in the PM’s speech, the Conservative Party will proceed to:
- Raise the age of sale by one year every year.
- Double the funding for local authority Stop Smoking Services.
- Increase funding for awareness-raising campaigns by £5 million this year and £15 million from next year onwards.
- Increase funding for the enforcement of illicit tobacco sales by £30 million.
- Launch a consultation on specific measures to tackle the increase in youth vaping.
The Consultation to Prevent Youth Vaping
This coming consultation will focus on five key policy proposals in a bid to tackle the rise in youth vaping. These include:
Vape Flavours – the UK government plans to examine the role of vape flavours in the rise in youth and adult smoking rates.
Point-of-Sale Displays – the consultation will look closely at the ways point-of-sale displays are presented and devise ways to avoid appealing to children.
Vape Packaging and Product Presentation – the UK government will also review vape packaging and device presentation with the aim to install measures that prevent vape products from appealing to children.
Restricting the Sale of Disposable Vaping Products – the government will explore the benefits and disadvantages of restricting the sale of disposable vaping products.
Non-Nicotine Vapes – the government will introduce legislation to prohibit the sale of non-nicotine vapes to under-18s as a first step to protect children.
The Future of Vaping
According to Make Smoking History, tobacco harm costs Greater Manchester’s economy £910m and smoking-related illnesses take 5,700 lives each year. Sarah Price, Chief Officer for Population & Health Inequalities at NHS Greater Manchester, says:
"Tobacco is a uniquely harmful product. There’s no other legal product out there that kills two in three consumers when used exactly as intended. In Greater Manchester, too many communities are still suffering from the harms of tobacco and the Government’s commitment to see a generation which grows up smokefree is warmly welcomed.
"People in Greater Manchester want to see an end to the health inequalities starkly felt across their communities and an end to young people getting hooked on smoking, so it’s fantastic that the Government has announced plans to raise the age of sale on cigarettes, plus tougher enforcement action on tobacco and vapes.
"Additional funding announced for local stop smoking services and for mass media campaigns will support our successful, collaborative and comprehensive approach to Making Smoking History and delivering a Smokefree 2030 together across our city region."
Vape Dinner Lady’s Position
Despite much positive progress being made – both to establish a smoke-free society and to tackle the rise in youth vaping – the news has prompted concern from the large number of existing vapers who rely on disposables.
The government’s recent Youth Vaping Call for Evidence Analysis notes that disposables are very important products, “particularly for older users, people with dexterity issues, or those with learning disabilities, because they are easier to use than refillable products.”The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) recognises this and continues to advocate for the vaping community and all those who use disposable vapes. The Association plans to consult with the government to ensure any new vaping policies are “practical, effective, proportionate and above all supportive of the Government’s ambition for a smoke-free generation