MP’s discuss vaping in the House of Commons in a conversation around the challenges of a Smoke-free society by 2030. On Tuesday 23rd of March 2021 there was a discussion in the House of Commons in which vaping and electronic cigarettes were debated.
The crux of the discussion was the goal of being smoke free in the UK by the year 2030. Interestingly the discussion soon took a turn towards vaping, more specifically how the UK will most likely not hit their 2030 goal unless vaping is embraced as a viable alternative to smoking.
Mr David Jones from Clwyd West started the discussion stating:
It should, of course, go without saying that smoking kills. While the number of people who smoke has fallen in recent years, the problem is still real, and it is a problem that reflects inequalities. We might not all see it in our constituencies, but there are large parts of the country where smoking rates remain troublingly high.
This we already know. While the rate of smoking is declining, there are still millions of smokers in the UK who have yet to find a way to quit.
We have always been vocal advocates of e-cigs as an alternative to smoking and we have seen for over a decade the life changing affect that making the switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes can have. But even with extremely positive reports from health bodies such as Public Health England, there is still trepidation when the subject is raised.
Mr David Jones continued:
Thirdly, and most importantly, making a difference means helping smokers who cannot quit smoking to change to something that is less harmful for them than cigarettes—products that are not combustible. The forthcoming tobacco control plan gives us the opportunity to take a fresh look at the new products and innovations in the UK, as well as those that we could have now that we have left the European Union.
We have seen great results from e-cigarettes, and Public Health England recently found that in every region of England quit rates involving a vaping product were higher than those for any other method. However, while they have worked for many smokers, e-cigarettes are not a panacea. In fact, nearly half the smokers in Britain have tried vaping, but did not continue. Now the number of vapers is falling, which should be a cause for concern for us all.
There are two measures that the Government can take to address the issue. The first concerns communications. Existing communications are not cutting through. When it published its annual vaping report last month, PHE said: “Thousands more could have quit except for unfounded safety fears about e-cigarettes.”
This is a large quote, but an extremely important one as it highlights that people are on the side of vaping and now see it as a way to rid people of the chains of tobacco.
Gareth Johnson from Dartford also said:
I fear that it is going to be incredibly difficult to achieve a smoke-free society by 2030. It could be achievable, however, if we embraced vaping far more than we do at present and if we promoted those products as being 95% risk free, as stated by Public Health England, and as being substantially safer than smoking. It is not risk free and people who do not smoke should not vape, but it is absolutely right that we encourage smokers to take up vaping. There are a variety of different, innovative ways to do that, including my right hon. Friend’s suggestion of inserting in cigarette packets a card encouraging the smoker to use a particular vaping product.
Brexit gives us the opportunity to ensure that vaping regulations pertain to vaping. That is not the case at present: they are lumped together with tobacco products, which creates and radiates the fear that vaping is as dangerous as smoking. Too many people in this country feel that there are greater dangers with vaping than actually is the case. Through Government changes to regulations, we can change that and ensure that people who smoke are made aware of the comparative benefits of vaping. Post Brexit, there is a great opportunity to ensure that that happens.
Another positive outlook on vaping and shows that people are potentially looking at the current regulation and whether it being group in with combustible tobacco is the wrong decision.
Does this mean we have an alteration of e-cig regulation on the cards? We don’t know. But the fact that MP’s are actively engaged in positive discussion about vaping is hopefully the start of a change in attitude.