Tue 21 Aug 2018
The University of Birmingham recently undertook extensive high-level research into e-cigarettes, cementing further the results of many peer-reviewed, publicly issued reports and inquiries into vaping, with its subsequent effect on health, the body and society at large.
A Parliamentary report commissioned utilising the outcomes of the research has echoed the plea of Public Health England to allow the provision of e-cigarettes on prescription as a smoking cessation aid, and to relax certain rules regarding the size of tanks and the limitation of nicotine strength, as it is believed these are large factors in people reverting to smoking. Alongside this the report suggests a push needs to be made to not just allow more options, but encourage them, by means of less regulation on advertising, and proposing a debate on enclosed space public vaping (on public transport and in offices for example).
Additionally, the report stated disappointment and that it was “unacceptable” that a third of NHS Mental Health Trusts have an outright ban on e-cigarettes. This is not surprising considering how the stigma of vaping seems to have exacerbated in the past couple of years, and how a lack of support from the top to promote vaping as a health product (at least to date), has crept in to accepting draconian activity within taxpayer owned buildings.
Cancer Research UK added backing to the proposal, summarising “The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco”. Another area of research by the University of Birmingham was that of e-cigarettes being a gateway to smoking. Public Health England assessed the results in a matter of words; “There is no evidence e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking for young people” they said.
All good news in my eyes. It is worth noting however that this was independent research, and the MPs involved in the report make up a Parliamentary Committee, which may seek to influence Government. The European TPD legislation has been enshrined in British law, and would need overturning/rewriting post-Brexit, it would not just go with the EU.
What I found exciting about the report was the MP’s recommendations about relaxing tax duties on e-cigarettes to reflect their relative health benefits. Considering that I was adamant that stealth taxes would have been snuck in to the next Chancellor’s Budget on all e-cigarette related paraphanalia, this is very welcome news. Whether this will be heeded or not is unlikely, but it may be enough to stave off an additional tax, for this year at least.
The advertising side is interesting too. Not quite sure where that could potentially go. I can’t see it extending to television, but I could certainly imagine the larger companies having a field day online with targeted advertising through Google and Facebook. The worry is of course, as has been reiterated many, many times in this blog is that the smaller companies will be eventually swallowed up, and then the larger companies being taken over by even larger powerful tobacco companies who could effectively self-regulate the industry, driving prices up, encouraging smoking and basically being in a win-win situation whether people vape or smoke. Call it long term pessimism, but despite this concern, I think this is a report we should absolutely get behind, and hope the Government does too.
Written by ELFC Content Creator Alex Blatherwick