October 19, 2020
Founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping tells Vape Business about the group’s plans for the current parliamentary year.
Vape Business: What will be the priorities for the APPG this year?
Mark Pawsey: The APPG is looking to hold two inquiries this parliamentary year. The first will look at [World Health Organisation’s vape-focused “conference of the parties”] COP9 and address concerns around the WHO potentially advocating for a ban on reduced risk and/or vaping products or for them to be treated in the same manner as cigarettes and combustible tobacco. The second will look at the potential for new domestic vaping legislation post-Brexit.
VB: Do you expect Brexit to have any effect on our vaping laws?
MP: This is certainly something that the APPG will be looking into in depth. Since the APPG was established, a persistent theme has been the dissatisfaction with elements of the Tobacco Products Directive. For example, the necessity for bottle sizes and nicotine strengths to be restricted has been raised on many occasions by vapers, retailers and producers alike. Whatever legislative changes the APPG may propose, I know that all MPs will want to ensure the very highest levels of safety for all vaping products to protect consumers.
VB: How important do you think vaping could be in helping those smokers who’ve quit due to COVID-19 to keep being cigarette free?
MP: It is clear that vaping has a key role to play in helping smokers to quit and to stay off tobacco for good. The nature of COVID-19 and the effect it has on the lungs has certainly caused many smokers to either consider quitting, or to quit, and vaping can play a big role in ensuring that cessation is successful.
VB: How likely is it that there will be more vape-only spaces in hospitality as already happens in some hospitals?
MP: Again, this is something the APPG can certainly look at. In 2018, we conducted an inquiry into vaping in the workplace and public places and produced a report which outlined five key recommendations in this area. The recommendations to employers included ensuring that policies on smoking and vaping were completely separate and that designated indoor vaping areas were provided. Similarly, I think that a similar policy could successfully be adopted by businesses within the hospitality sector. However, a further recommendation was that guidelines for reasonable vaping etiquette should be adopted in conjunction with allowing vaping indoors. We do need to be mindful of the concerns of non-vapers and, while we should always tackle the misconception that vaping is as harmful as smoking, I do think that it is incumbent on vapers to be considerate of those around them at all times. Blowing plumes of vapour into people’s faces doesn’t help promote vaping in any way.
VB: How important is it that the organisation which replaces PHE to have a similarly evidence-based approach to vaping?
MP: It is essential. We should be guided by the science and by the evidence. In recent years the UK has been very forward-thinking in its approach to vaping and has recognised the positive role that it can play in smoking cessation. We need to keep that up if we are to meet the government’s target of achieving a smoke-free generation in the near future.