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    Minister promises stricter regulations on vape sponsorship in sport

    Fans pose for a photo together outside the stadium prior to the Betfred Super League match between St Helens and Wigan Warriors at Totally Wicked Stadium on March 29, 2024 in St Helens, England. (Photo by Jess Hornby/Getty Images)

    Public health minister Andrea Leadsom committed to tightening regulations on the advertisement and sponsorship of nicotine vaping products.

    The pledge came in response to an amendment proposed by SNP MP Kirsten Oswald, aimed at banning vape sponsorships in sports, to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which is currently passing through the parliament.

    Oswald’s amendment proposed making it an offence for any business to enter a sponsorship agreement promoting nicotine-containing vape products. Drawing parallels to historical cigarette advertising in sports, Oswald highlighted the growing concern over vaping’s impact on youth, pointing out that vaping, often marketed as a smoking cessation aid, has instead become a new addiction for many young non-smokers.

    “Smoking cessation is important, and smoking cessation and sport are things that can be positively connected, but that is very much not what is happening,” Oswald said.

    “We need to be clear that young people are seeing sports and vaping together, when we really should be taking steps to prevent young people who have never smoked from seeing vaping as something they may want to do.”

    In reply, Leadsom said she was “mindful of the committee’s clear desire for the rules on advertising and sponsorship to be equally strong for both tobacco and vapes,” committing to explore formal steps to further restrict vape advertising and sponsorship.

    As Oswald pressed for a concrete commitment to a full ban, Leadsom added: “I would like to give the hon. Lady the reassurance that I will be coming forward with proposals from the government to address the issues that have been raised.”

    Last year, Blackburn Rovers’ sponsorship agreement with vaping brand Totally Wicked has raised concerns and criticism, but the football club has defended its decision, emphasising that no evidence has been found to suggest that the sponsorship encourages underage vaping.

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