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    Vape consultation: Industry warns about risk of ‘going too far’

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    Trade bodies representing the vape suppliers and traders have welcomed the government consultation announced on Thursday, setting out a range of options to reduce vape product availability to young people.

    The consultation proposes restrictions on the sale of disposable vapes, ‘child-friendly’ vape flavours and packaging and the display in retail outlets. The disposable vape restrictions include a proposal for prohibiting their sale and supply.

    The consultation also proposes to make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products. Products that would be in scope of the change also include heated tobacco products, which is considered as a smokefree product as they heat tobacco instead of burning it, producing a nicotine-containing aerosol that is fundamentally different from cigarette smoke.

    The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has welcomed the opportunity to ‘help shape the future of the industry’ but stressed the need for policy outcomes to ‘strike the right balance’. 

    “The IBVTA supports the prime minister’s vision of a smoke-free generation, something that commands cross-party support and could save the lives of millions. Vaping is crucial to delivering this. There’s no doubt the industry has faced challenges recently, as illicit products have flooded the market and irresponsible retailers have turned a blind eye to underage sales,” Marcus Saxton, chair of the IBVTA said. 

    Saxton said the IBVTA stand ready to work with the government on these issues.

    “Getting the policy right here is key to building a safe and sustainable industry that can continue to support smoking cessation across the UK. We will carefully consider our response to this consultation, with a focus on ensuring policy outcomes strike the right balance,” he said.

    “The risk is that policy goes too far and takes away a vital smoking cessation product when simply enforcing existing rules might be just as impactful,” he added.

    John Dunne, UKVIA director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association, also emphasised on the enforcement of the existing legislation.

    “While we agree with the government that we need to protect our children from vaping, we need to also avoid discouraging smokers from quitting. We would urge the government not to implement further legislation when we already have appropriate legislation – we just need to enforce it properly,” he said.

    “More restrictive legislation, such as banning vape products would be likely to lead to a dangerous growth in an unregulated black market, as seen in other countries like Australia.”

    Dunne reiterated the demand for increased fines for those traders who sell to children.

    “We welcome this consultation and would agree with the government’s view that vaping has a major public health role to play, but we also need to tackle the issue of children vaping. We have been calling on government for many years to do more to keep vapes out of the hands of children and some of our ideas are raised in this consultation, such as higher on-the-spot fines for retailers who sell vapes to children, although we’d like to see these raised further, to £10,000 from £2,500,” he said.

    He added that any decision to restrict adult access to vapes, particularly disposable vapes, on which over half of smokers looking to quit rely, would be counterproductive.

    “We look forward to participating in this consultation and we will continue to promote vaping as our best chance of ridding the UK of cigarettes, which continue to kill more than half of long-term smokers,” he said.

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