March 10, 2022
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has urged the Scottish Government to rethink plans to ban the promotion of vaping products, warning it could derail the country’s 2034 smoke free ambitions.
Scottish ministers are considering proposals which would restrict the promotion and advertising of vaping products saying that they “cannot say with total certainty that (vaping products) do not have any long-term harms to health”.
But the UKVIA, the largest trade body representing the sector, says this stance is “in denial of the facts” and creates a significant risk to the health of people of Scotland looking to quit smoking, as well as creating more uncertainty around vaping caused by misinformation.
The UKVIA’s position is echoed by the Scottish Grocer’s Federation which has stated that the Scottish Government’s move is unjustified and fails to appreciate the potential benefits of vaping products.
Doug Mutter is a director at both Edinburgh-headquartered VPZ, one of the UK’s leading independent vape retail and manufacturing businesses with 160 plus specialist stores throughout the UK, and the UKVIA.
He said: “We agree wholeheartedly with the view of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and believe that any controls placed on vaping promotion are in denial of the facts, will represent a massive own goal for the NHS in Scotland and means that the country can kiss goodbye to its 2034 smokefree ambitions.
“There is incontrovertible independent evidence that vaping is the most effective quit method for adult smokers, having been proven to double and even triple the success rate of Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as gums and patches.”
Part of the Scottish Government’s rationale for drawing up these plans is to ensure people who have never smoked do not take up vaping.
“There is very little evidence of non-adult smokers turning to vaping,” said Doug. “An ASH study amongst adult vapers in Great Britain last year revealed that fewer than 1% of ‘never smokers’ are current vapers. Therefore, the current situation already ticks the Scottish Government’s box that vape products should only be used as a means to stop smoking tobacco.”
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “We urge the Scottish Government to use this consultation positively as an opportunity to discuss the mounting evidence, including the view of NHS Scotland which has openly said vaping is definitely less harmful than smoking tobacco and isn’t seen as a gateway to smoking.
“And this comes at a time when the British government is considering putting vape products on prescription given the phenomenal impact they have had on the lives of former smokers, not to mention trials that took place last year where smokers, including some in Scotland, attending A&E departments were offered e-cigarettes to help them quit.”
Doug Mutter also pointed out that while people talk about the lack of “long term evidence of the effects of vaping” it has in fact been around for over 10 years.
“We fully support any research including into the long-term effects of vaping,” he said. “However, it should be noted that many people have been using e-cigarettes now for more than a decade and yet there has not been one conclusively evidenced death arising from vaping in the UK in all that time – meanwhile death caused by smoking continues to kill thousands every year.”
He continued: “A consultation on how to promote the positive facts of vaping and sound advice to support successful smoking quits through switching to e-cigarettes would have a significantly better impact on the public health of the Scottish people and we are always ready and willing to engage with policy makers to demonstrate the effectiveness of vaping when it comes to helping people quit smoking.
“By going down this route the Scottish government risks the lives of its adult smoking population – some 17% of its people – and placing a greater financial burden on the health service.”