Launching their manifesto for the 2017 General Election, the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has called on all candidates to allow vaping to achieve its full potential, as doing so could produce a financial gain for society of at least £648 billion and save many lives.
Vaping is a disruptive technology when it comes to big tobacco. Already 2.9 million smokers have switched to vaping, of whom 1.5 million have stopped smoking completely, producing a financial gain for society of at least £108 billion.
Currently, vape products (e-cigarettes and e-liquids) are disproportionately regulated and this prevents the full potential of vaping being reached.
Vape products in the UK are regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) – the UK’s implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive. These regulations impose the following restrictions:
- – E-liquid can only be sold in bottles no bigger than 10ml,
- – Tanks on vaping devices are restricted to a maximum of 2ml,
- – All nicotine containing e-liquids to have been tested and notified with the MHRA,
- – All vape products to be sold with the following warning, even if they do not contain nicotine when sold: “The product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.”
- – Nicotine strength is restricted to a maximum of 20mg/ml, and
- – There are severe restrictions on the advertising of vape products.
As a responsible trade association, IBVTA and its members are not opposed to regulation. Some aspects of the TRPR, namely the testing and notification of e-liquids are sensible. However, restrictions on bottle and tank sizes, restrictions on nicotine strengths, and advertising bans, far from making vaping more attractive to smokers or even less harmful compared to smoking, instead make vaping less attractive, more expensive, and will have no impact on the limited harm associated with vaping.
There is a thriving independent vape industry in the UK providing consumers with a wide range of quality vape products. According to one recent study, vaping is now the fastest growing industry in the UK and, after the United States, the UK is the second largest market for vape products in the world. At a local level, vape shops are one of the few areas of growth on our high streets.
Despite this success, some nine million people in the UK still smoke and these regulations will make it harder for some of them to switch to vaping. After the UK has left the European Union, IBVTA therefore calls on the next government to:
- – Remove restrictions on bottle sizes,
- – Remove restrictions on tank sizes,
- – Remove restrictions on nicotine strengths,
- – Revert to the advertising restrictions set out in the Committee on Advertising Practice guidance, originally published on the 9th October 2014,
- – Only have nicotine warning labels on products that actually contain nicotine at point of sale,
- – Continue to resist EU attempts to introduce an EU-wide excise regime for vape products. After the UK has the left the EU, the Government should continue to oppose any calls for additional taxation on vape products, and
- – When negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, do not agree to any deal where the UK is still bound by EU tobacco control policy, including the TPD – and the EU’s tobacco excise regime.
Speaking at the launch of IBVTA’s manifesto, Fraser Cropper, Chairman of IBVTA said:
“The UK really does have the potential to become a global leader in vaping; both in terms of shaping the global policy environment, and also generating exports and boosting the UK economy.
This tremendous opportunity will only be realised if the regulatory and fiscal environment in which our industry operates is proportionate. If the next government works with the independent vape industry to deliver robust, proportionate, and fit for purpose regulation, then vaping will flourish and achieve its full potential in providing a viable and significantly less harmful alternative to tobacco products as well as providing a significant and much needed boost to the UK economy.”