Recently, a debate took place in the House of Commons to discuss the Tobacco-control plan which is now 1 year old. Public Health Minister, Steve Brine led the debate accompanied by MPs from various parties.

Steve Brine opened the debate as he mentioned the success of last year’s Stoptober campaign which included vaping. He went on to explain that vaping is safer than smoking and is helping thousands of people to quit smoking. Brine has been relatively positive about vaping when speaking in debates and during sessions for the e-cigarette inquiry.

Steve Brine

Trading standards budget cuts

One topic that has been scarcely mentioned in recent times is trading standards’ ability to enforce vaping regulations. The IBVTA released a report in June on the state of compliance and enforcement within the vaping industry. The report stated:

“Nearly 40 per cent of local authorities have carried out no investigations into vaping non-compliance. Nationally, Trading Standards have only actioned just over half of reports they have received from local businesses and consumers of non-compliance. This is unacceptable.”

Bob Blackman, Conservative MP discussed the budget cuts to trading standards and how it is allowing illicit nicotine products to be sold.

Bob Blackman House of Commons

Vaping on NHS grounds

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP mentioned vaping and how it could be further utilised to achieve the targets set out. He discussed how safer alternatives to tobacco, including vaping should be used to support smokers with mental health conditions.

Alex Cunningham House of Commons

 

This topic has been covered in some detail over recent times due to the worryingly high smoking rate among people with mental health conditions. Despite experts’ backing vaping as a potential solution to reduce these rates, it is still not allowed in numerous mental health institutes.

In a similar vein, the use of e-cigarettes on NHS hospital grounds has been contentious issue recently. Jim Shannon, DUP MP explained that evidence to date shows no threat of passive vaping so suggested that vaping should be allowed on NHS grounds. Shannon
also went on to mention the contribution of local vape shops in his local
constituency.

Sir Kevin Barron shows support for vaping

Sir Kevin Barron is the Labour MP for Rother Valley. Barron maintained a positive outlook on vaping and explained that health inequalities could be reduced by implementing a proper harm reduction strategy including vaping.

He therefore explained that more is needed to be done to help improve the understanding of the relative safety of vaping for both smokers and health professionals.

Sir Kevin Barron House of Commons

 

An interesting point made by the Rother Valley MP was the discrepancies in smoking rates between the UK and Ireland. While the same tobacco control measures are in place, UK rates are declining while those in Ireland are stagnating. With vaping being endorsed much more pro-actively in the UK than in Ireland, this indicates the effectiveness of vaping on smoking rates.

Steve Brine closed the debate by reiterating the point that the government needs to ensure smokers are informed on the relative safety of vaping.

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