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Scottish government’s plan to ban advertising for vaping is ‘nonsensical’ and ‘dangerous’

February 7, 2022

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The Scottish government’s plan to ban all advertising for vaping has been branded “nonsensical” and “dangerous” by a campaigner.

Mark Oates, fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, said the strategy currently being considered is ill thought through and could lead to more smokers dying.

A consultation was launched on Thursday (3) to determine public views on the banning of vape advertising, with the aim of ruling out promotions in places such as bus shelters and billboards.

Ministers say that reducing “exposure to advertising and promotion of vape products is the best way to protect” people who do not smoke, as well as “young people and children from being enticed to experiment” with vaping.

However Oates, who also runs vaping advocacy group WeVape, has accused Scottish ministers of dismissing their own NHS health guidance and said the plans could go against the current goal of having a smoke-free Scotland by 2030.

He told The Herald on Sunday (6) the plans could stop those who currently smoke from switching to vaping, while there is no evidence that young people are taking up vaping on a large scale.

He said that the 19-page consultation document was a “series of contradictions that could ultimately contribute to the death of even more smokers in Scotland and make the country’s 2030 smoke free target unachievable”.

“Throughout the paper, the government accepts vaping is twice as effective as any other means of quitting smoking, then goes on to tell us why we should ban telling people about it,” Oates added.

“The government’s own research shows the vast majority of vapers are adult ex-smokers. It accepts there has been no significant increase of use in young people in recent years, despite the huge uptake of vaping as a quitting tool in adults.

“It also acknowledges evidence from the British Medical Association and NHS Scotland, who both state vaping should be highly encouraged as a quitting tool, then ignores it and quotes the World Health Organisation’s warped and unscientific view vaping is as bad as smoking tobacco. We know this is simply wrong.”

The confrontation around vaping comes from the concern that advertising products could attract young people to use them, with some reports, mainly from the US, suggesting that companies are actively trying to market the products to teenagers.

“The Scottish government is applying flawed logic at a time when Scotland has the highest smoking rates in the UK,” Oates added.

“In the face of overwhelming evidence to support the promotion of vaping on health grounds, the SNP position is to ban it from being advertised on bus stops in case it harms children. It is madness!”, he said.

He urged people to respond to the consultation before it closes on April 28.