Earlier this year, anti-smoking experts explained why a post-Brexit Britain should consider getting rid of the ineffective EU-wide Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which has led to a stall in progress in relation to smoking cessation, rather than to progress.
These health experts grew concerned as despite the fact that Public Health England has openly endorsed e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools, data indicated that the number of smokers switching from smoking to vaping per year, has dropped from 800,000 to 100,000.
“The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes. It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking.” said ASH ( Action on Smoking and Health) in a press release last Summer.
Why is the TPD failing?
Besides the bad publicity that e-cigarettes
are still subjected to, a TPD regulation banning sales
of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml, has been making it hard
for many smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
It is a known fact that when smokers first turn to vaping, they first start with higher doses of nicotine to match the hit they were getting from their cigarettes, and then proceed to wean themselves slowly in order to curb their addiction. Therefore the ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.
The Science and Technology Committee Report
In response to this, last August, the Science and Technology Committee had released a report containing several evidence-based policy proposals for e-cigarettes. These proposals were aimed at tackling the current misconceptions about the devices, and positively transform the way vaping is viewed by businesses, institutions and the public alike.
Amongst other things, the Committee proposed reviewing provisions in the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, to include HnBs in the Government’s annual review of safer nicotine products, and also reassess the evidence supporting the ban on snus.
“This report dovetails with the government’s Tobacco Control Plan commitment to back innovative products in its drive to encourage smokers to quit, and its recommendations are evidence-based and designed to maximise the benefits of safer nicotine delivery,” said the NNA about the report.
Safeguarding public health
In response to these recommendations, the UK government has finally committed to reviewing the local e-cig regulations, in order to benefit public health. In a statement, the Department of Health and Social Care has said that it “will look to identify where we can sensibly deregulate without harming public health.”
“The government’s goal will remain to achieve a proportionate approach to managing risk, one which protects the young and non-smokers, whilst giving smokers access to products which will reduce harm.”