9th May was a notable date in the vaping industry calendar. That was the date the Chair of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (otherwise known as IBVTA), Fraser Cropper, was invited to attend the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons. The committee is conducting an inquiry into e-cigarettes, and until that point no one representing the vaping industry had received an invitation to attend.
Mr Cropper gave evidence to the committee along with fellow witnesses, the director of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), John Dunne, and chair of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), Sarah Jakes.
Could we see changes to the Tobacco Products Directive?
While all three gave their own evidence to the inquiry, they agreed the current Tobacco Products Directive created by the European Union should be altered once the Brexit process has been completed. Mr Cropper spoke of the potential of vaping as a method for reducing the instances of smoking in the UK. The current regulations had not been based on a risk assessment and have been viewed by many as too heavy-handed for purpose. Mr Cropper hopes that after Britain has left the EU, we can have “much more balanced regulation”.
Could excise duty be charged on e-cigarettes?
This was one of the questions to arise during the session. The three representatives in attendance all agreed this was not a good idea. Many people see vaping not just as a healthier alternative to smoking, but a far cheaper one too. If that cost benefit was removed, there is a chance fewer smokers would consider making the switch.
It is currently almost impossible to promote vaping products to the public, since there are strict regulations on advertising. However, all three who spoke at the committee meeting criticised this approach. It seems odd that health bodies and organisations are supportive of vaping as a safe alternative to smoking, and yet this solution cannot be advertised. It sends a mixed message and Mr Dunne blamed this approach on the incorrect perception many people have of the safety of vaping.
It remains to be seen how the inquiry is resolved and what its conclusions will be. We hope the vaping industry can continue along a positive path, so it can help those who want to give up smoking. The advent of Brexit could bring a sea change and if it does, it could be a positive one for all.