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How to ensure vaping remains as a solution to Smokefree 2030

How to ensure vaping remains as a solution to Smokefree 2030

David Waterfield, Area Director of North-Western Europe Area | BAT UK

3 min read Partner content

Vaping is the key to unlocking the Government’s smoke free 2030 target, but regulations must be changed to ensure the good work is not undone.

Dr Javed Khan’s Independent Review on Tobacco Control, published in June 2022, identified vaping as a vital tool for driving down smoking rates, while warning that two thirds of all remaining smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking.

The NHS has also identified misinformation about vaping as a serious barrier to further progress. The Government must find novel ways to reach smokers with the vital message that vaping is less risky to health than smoking*.

But even a far-reaching communications campaign will still not be enough if smokers continue to be greeted by negative news warnings about vaping products on sale in the UK. BAT UK believes that one of the most effective means to give smokers the confidence they need to switch to vaping is to tackle youth access and non-compliance head on.

Here’s BAT UK’s simple two-point plan to unlock the potential of vaping:

1. Strengthen vaping regulations to protect young people
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, and the review of the UK’s tobacco and vaping product regulations conducted last spring, there is an opportunity to enhance vaping regulation. BAT UK agrees with Dr Khan that more must be done to prevent young people from taking up vaping. Cartoon characters and images appealing to children have no place at all in the vaping market and should be banned.

Likewise, while vaping flavours play a critical role in encouraging adult smokers to switch from smoking, flavours or descriptors that resemble confectionary and appealing to the young should be prohibited.

2. Increase enforcement
Tightening the regulations alone is not enough. As more adult smokers turn to vaping, repeated raids by Trading Standards have found an increased availability of dangerous supersized or superstrength vaping products. The UK Vaping Industry Association estimate that between 40% - 60% of disposable vapes currently on sale in the UK are counterfeit or non-compliant.

BAT UK would support steps to increase the powers and resources of Border Force and Trading Standards so they can swiftly remove noncompliant products before they enter the UK market and impose stricter penalties on unscrupulous players.

No time to waste
Vaping is the key to delivering on England’s smoke free 2030 target, and to help level up the country’s health inequalities. BAT UK believes that by tightening vaping regulations and empowering authorities to enforce existing laws, the Government can add considerable heft in its drive towards a smoke free 2030. There is no time to waste.

* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.

BAT UK is a UK subsidiary of BAT. BAT is building A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of our business. From launching our first vaping device in the UK in 2013, non-combustible alternative nicotine products accounted for almost half of the revenue of BAT’s UK business in 2021.

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