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    UKVIA writes to MPs over misleading evidence at Tobacco and Vapes Bill committee hearing

    Photo: iStock

    The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has sent a series of letters to MPs, expressing grave concerns over what they deem as “misleading, incomplete, unsubstantiated, or incorrect” information presented during the recent Tobacco and Vapes Bill committee session.

    The committee has heard oral evidence from a range of stakeholders on 30 April and 1 May, but vapers or representatives from the vaping industry have not been invited to give evidence.

    In the letters addressed to MPs, the UKVIA highlighted their worries regarding the quality and accuracy of the evidence provided to the committee. They stressed the importance of unbiased evidence for effective scrutiny of the bill, particularly given its significant implications for public health.

    “Sadly, on this occasion, much of this evidence was either misleading, incomplete, unsubstantiated, or just incorrect as reflected in the attached document we have produced,” the letter read.

    “We were worried that this would be the case when the Bill committee decided not to invite any participants from the vaping industry, or indeed any representatives of the UK’s five million vapers, to give evidence,” it added.

    While supportive of the bill’s aims to reduce smoking and youth vaping rates, the UKVIA emphasised the need for balanced scrutiny and accurate information. They called attention to the distinction between legal vaping businesses and illegal traders, urging lawmakers not to conflate the two.

    “We recognise there are illegal traders in our industry who will sell to children, and criminal gangs who import black market devices, which can contain illegal and dangerous substances. The legitimate and majority side of the sector want to rid the country of this scourge on society and see them prosecuted, punished and driven out of business. To equate the illegal and legal vaping sectors is as unfair as saying that illegal immigrant smugglers and the Dover to Calais ferry do the same thing. One is illegal and needs to be stopped, the other performs a helpful and beneficial service,” the letter noted.

    The UKVIA also criticised the selection process for the committee, pointing out the absence of MPs who opposed the bill’s second reading. They argued that this lack of diversity in viewpoints hindered the committee’s ability to assess the bill thoroughly.

    In the first vote of the bill at the House of Commons, 383 MPs voted in favour with 67 voting against, including business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch and other senior secretaries of state.

    Additionally, the association highlighted the Department of Health and Social Care’s decision to exclude them from meaningful collaboration, expressing frustration over the lack of engagement with industry stakeholders.

    “For the avoidance of doubt, we are at pains to stress that the UKVIA does not have any members owned or controlled by the tobacco industry, nor does it accept any funding from tobacco industry participants,” the letter said.

    Alongside the letter, the UKVIA has also issued a report analysing some of the evidence presented by those who were invited to speak at the evidence session.

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