Upcoming: Vape Business Award TBC
Home News UKVIA seeks ‘immediate pause’ as Tobacco and Vapes Bill lacks public health impact study of vape restrictions

UKVIA seeks ‘immediate pause’ as Tobacco and Vapes Bill lacks public health impact study of vape restrictions

March 22, 2024

Photo: iStock

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has called for an immediate halt to the government’s new Tobacco and Vapes Bill amid fears it could spark a public health disaster.

The trade body highlighted that no research has been done into the public health impacts of any new vape restrictions as revealed in the Department of Health & Social Care’s (DHSC) Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA).

RIA is supposed to be a critical assessment of the potential positive or negative effects of proposed regulation. However, the DHSC admits that they “…have not quantified the health impacts of fewer people using vapes to quit smoking,” as a result of potential changes to flavour offerings, point of sale displays or packaging and product presentation.

Furthermore, the Bill gives the secretary of state sweeping powers to bring in a raft of new regulations, prohibitions and limitations without further parliamentary scrutiny.

“We cannot stand by and let the government play Russian Roulette with millions of lives. The potential health impacts of any new regulatory changes must be robustly examined and quantified before anything else happens,” John Dunne, UKVIA director general, said.

“The potential health disaster that the government is about to unleash with this politically-motivated Bill is so serious that we must halt its progress immediately.”

He added: “It is absolutely crucial that the parliament gets this right before this Bill becomes law. We have already written to the prime minister and every MP to point out this glaring oversight by the DHSC.”

“It is irresponsible in the extreme for the government to propose legislation that gives unprecedented powers to the secretary of state to make life-or-death decisions for millions of British smokers and vapers without even a cursory nod to the health impacts this may have.

“Because so many lives are potentially at risk, the evidence used to make these impacts must be made public and be independently checked and verified.”

The DHSC says the Bill will ‘deliver on the prime minister’s commitment to create a smokefree generation, saving thousands of lives and billions of pounds for the NHS’ by bringing in new powers to restrict vape flavours, packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops to protect children.

Dunne said however that: “The powers in this Bill are so wide that it would allow, at its most extreme, a ban on all flavours, cigarette-style plain packaging and see vapes locked away from view just like cigarettes.

“Not only would this wipe out the UK vape industry but it would literally be a potential death sentence to millions of vapers who have already successfully quit cigarettes and to millions more adult smokers who would be denied the opportunity to switch.

“We will continue to support any moves and push new initiatives that help prevent underage vaping, including a retailer and distributor vape licensing scheme we have developed.

“We don’t cross the road without considering the health impacts of walking into traffic and we must not proceed with any new legislation that could see millions of former smokers potentially returning to deadly cigarettes.”