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Scottish public health chiefs call for minimum price for vapes

April 2, 2024

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Members of the Scottish public health system have issued a position statement calling for the introduction of a minimum price for e-cigarettes and a higher minimum price for tobacco products.

The statement notes that vape prices are cheap and accuses the tobacco industry of keeping the price of its cheapest cigarettes ‘artificially low to encourage smoking initiation and maintenance’.

The group, a collaboration between Public Health Scotland and Scottish directors of public health, said tobacco smoking and youth vaping present a public health challenge that requires bold and collective action.

The position statement called for six areas of action to be considered, which include addressing price, availability, promotion, resilience among young people and children, control of sales, and prevention.

Other measures suggested include licence fee for shops that sell tobacco and vape, plain packaging for vapes and ban on vape advertising, new fines and penalties to dissuade retailers from selling vapes to children.

“Scotland has a strong track record of world-leading public health policy that has saved tens of thousands of lives and it can continue to play a leading role by taking the necessary steps to reduce the harm that tobacco causes. Recent announcements by the UK and Scottish Governments are a positive development but more needs to be done nationally and locally,” Dr Garth Reid, consultant at Public Health Scotland, said.

“E-cigarettes are not products for children and so we are deeply concerned over the huge rise in youth vaping. Currently, e-cigarettes are too easily available so it’s important to reduce their accessibility and visibility. We must also continue efforts to foster more positive attitudes that keeps young people and children away from using e-cigarettes in the first place.”