The 2023 Conservative Party Conference took place in Manchester today with some interesting vape news among the announcements.
There have been rumours of a disposable vape ban for sometime and the vape industry has been poised for a definitive statement on the topic. Despite much speculation, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak didn’t announce a ban on single use e-cigarettes. The PM did, however, mention that there may be restrictions placed on certain elements of vapes, including flavours, packaging, and the sale of disposable vapes.
What Vape News Was Announced?
Today, Rishi Sunak stated that smoking will be phased out as part of an incremental generational plan which will see the smoking age raised by one year each year.
There were further announcements on the Government website regarding a consultation on vapes which will consider:
- Restricting vape flavours and descriptions
- Regulating packaging
- Regulating positioning of vape products in retail spaces
- Restricting the sale of disposable vapes
The UK vape industry has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement. However, it has warned that over-regulation of popular adult vape products would deny smokers a proven smoking cessation tool.
Fake Vapes Make Up a Third of the Single Use Vape Market
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has stated that around a third of the disposable vape market comprises illicit vapes[i]. The concern is that disproportionate regulation of vapes would inevitably lead to a vaping market saturated with unregulated, and untested fake vapes.
The IBVTA says that such strict regulation would be a 'blunt instrument' that would benefit criminals while jeopardising health gains.
The UK Government has also announced funding of £30 million which will be used to prevent the introduction and distribution of illicit products in the UK. The IBVTA not only supports this, but has previously called for such action.
The Role of Vapes in a Smoke-Free UK
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) wants to highlight the role in which vaping can play in attaining a smoke-free England, a Government initiative which aims for England to be smoke-free by 2030.[ii]
- 46% of regular smokers and 37% of ex-smokers have tried or used a vaping device to help them quit smoking.
- Of those, 53% of regular smokers use a single use vaping device to help them quit. 61% of ex-smokers (who quit in past 2 years) used a single use vaping device.
- 72% of ex-smokers (who quit in past 5 years) and 56% of regular smokers believe single use devices are helpful in assisting individuals to reduce their smoking levels (23% of ex-smokers and 32% of smokers think they are not helpful).
- 49% used a single use vape due to ease of use, 40% cited affordability
How would the Government meet their smoke-free target while over-regulating one of the most effective ways to help people stop smoking?
Swap to Stop
Also among the announcements is a new Stop to Swap campaign which will encourage smokers to swap cigarettes for vapes. It will be interesting to see how this iteration of the scheme will differ from the current scheme.
Our CEO, Marcus Saxton Responds to the PM’s Announcement
Marcus Saxton, Chair of the IBVTA and Totally Wicked's CEO said:
"We welcome the Government's intention to phase out tobacco use. However, if this is going to work, then smokers need proven pathways off their addiction.
“All the evidence shows that single use products are a crucial first step to getting smokers off tobacco particularly in disadvantaged communities with high levels of smoking where, because of their ease of use, they are an effective smoking cessation tool. Undermining these products risks undermining the Government's ambitions for a smoke-free England and to phase out tobacco use.
"As an industry, we recognise that youth vaping needs to be tackled and we stand-ready to work with Government and towards this and we welcome wider consultation on the industry.
"Rather than the knee-jerk introduction of new regulations, existing legislation should be properly enforced, and responsible manufacturers and retailers properly supported, rather than reaching for the blunt instrument of policy measures that could have damaging consequences."
Find out more about the IBVTA and their campaign to dispel myths and misinformation surrounding vaping.
[iii] Original research was commissioned by an IBVTA member and undertaken by Opinium via a survey of 6,000 UK adults (Fieldwork conducted in July 2023).