May 7, 2022
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has lashed at the Scottish government’s proposed restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products, terming the proposals ‘misguided’ and warning that the imposing them would be a ‘disastrous move’ for public health by restricting smoking cessation.
The Scottish government is consulting on additional controls to limit advertising and promotion of vaping products in Scotland, arguing that the current restrictions “do not go far enough to protect young people and non-smokers from influential messaging.”
The IBVTA said much of the basis for the consultation is not rooted in known facts about vaping and e-cigarettes, and particularly in how they pertain to Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“The consultation is based on the premise that there are serious doubts over the safety of vaping. However, after more than a decade of research, which includes long term studies on vapers, we now know that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, carries just 0.5% of the risk of cancer, and is less addictive than cigarettes,” the trade body noted in the statement.
“Vaping devices exist alongside, and are helping to denormalise and eliminate, tobacco cigarettes. The IBVTA believes that because of this, the context of the consultation is misleading.”
The statement claimed that at least two million smokers have switched to vaping and then gone on to stop nicotine use entirely in Britain alone, but added that vaping faces a misperception barrier as many people wrongly believe that vaping is as bad or worse than smoking due to misinformation, which includes studies widely publicised but then withdrawn.
“Restricting advertising on products will further undermine people’s confidence in vaping devices, as it sends the message that there is no benefit in switching from smoking to vaping,” the statement said.
“By further reinforcing the misperception that vaping is as or more harmful than smoking, regulations that ban advertising put at risk further progress in helping smokers switch to vastly less harmful alternatives and maintain income and health disparities.”
The IBVTA also noted that the proposed regulations increase the likelihood that young people will use nicotine in its most harmful and addictive form as both legal and illegal cigarettes are widely available.
“The IBVTA and its members believe that the restrictions suggested are a reaction to some retailers selling vaping devices to people under the age of 18. Adding further restrictions will make no difference to businesses that habitually break the law, but it will hamper legitimate businesses which are helping people to stop smoking,” the statement argued.
“Therefore, we strongly believe the best solution is for rigorous enforcement of existing age restrictions, prosecuting companies which knowingly sell to people under the age of 18 and banning repeat offenders from selling age restricted products.”