On-pack messaging that promotes vape’s harm reduction potential and greater use of vape in stop smoking services would improve vape regulations and help the UK achieve its Smoke Free 2030 target, the UK Vape Industry Association (UKVIA) has said.
The proposals form part of the UKVIA’s submission to a government consultation on the country’s post-Brexit tobacco and related products restrictions (TRPR), a replacement for EUTPDII.
Working with its members across manufacturing and retail channels, the consultation identifies three broad themes where improvements can be made. These are:
- Misinformation is tackled effectively – permitting agreed health claims and switching messages to encourage adult smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and utilising the different methods of communication available to the Government and public health bodies.
- The vaping industry upholds and strengthens product quality and safety standards – including the introducing zero-nicotine containing e-liquids within the TRPR.
- Online vape retailers are supported with consumer outreach – ensuring that online vape retailers can communicate and offer services to adult smokers looking to make the switch.
On its proposals to increase communication from medical professionals, the UKVIA identified a survey from Cancer Research UK which shows more than a third of clinicians are unsure if e-cigarettes are safe enough to recommend as a quit tool to patients who smoke. Two in five, meanwhile, said that they would feel uncomfortable recommending e-cigarettes to their patients who smoke, while one in six clinicians said they would never recommend a smoker to switch to e-cigarettes from combustible tobacco.
The proposals also include exchanging current tobacco-style health warnings on vape products for messaging that encourages smokers to switch to vape. A similar set of messages have been proposed in New Zealand and Canada where messages include:
“Switching completely from smoking to e-cigarettes will reduce harms to your health”; “While vaping products emit toxic substances, the amount is significantly lower than in tobacco smoke” and “Switching completely from combustible tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes significantly reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxic and cancer-causing substances.”
Further proposals include restrictions on youth-orientated packaging, folding in manufacturer regulations for non-nicotine vape products and government approved messages and leaflets in stores and online which businesses can use to allay fears about vaping.
John Dunne, director general of the UKVIA, said: “The UK Government has been a voice of reason when developing policy on vaping and is well-regarded by other countries for this approach. This pragmatic, science-led approach to the regulation of vaping products is welcome. The UK Government and public health organisations have created an environment which has allowed millions of smokers to significantly reduce harm to health by switching to e-cigarettes. Indeed, PHE have supported vaping as a quitting tool consistently over the past six years. In their latest report published in February 2021, PHE continues to evidence the overall effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping adult smokers to quit.
“Much progress has already been made since e-cigarettes first entered the market. Studies and institutions across the world are helping to strengthen both knowledge and understanding of e-cigarettes and their effectiveness in providing a less harmful alternative to adult smokers looking to make the switch. The UKVIA believes that there is still much to be done to understand the support needed for consumers, manufacturers, retailers and healthcare professionals, and the TRPR provides that opportunity.”
Former Health Minister, and past chair of the science and technology select committee, Sir Norman Lamb backed the UKVIA’s submission, stating:
“I welcome the launch of the UKVIA’s Blueprint document responding to the Government’s consultation – the TRPR review offers a great opportunity to improve public health across the UK by tackling misinformation about vaping.
“It also presents an opportunity for the industry to build on the evidence-based approach, which the Government has consistently taken on vaping products, and to support smokers who want to switch to a less harmful product.”