The tobacco and vaping industries have largely welcomed a tobacco control plan released by the government today, which seeks to encourage a loosening of e-cigarette regulations after Brexit.
The report, produced by the Department of Health, said the government would identify ways to de-regulate vaping after the UK leaves the European Union. These could include scrapping regulations on refill container size which came in with the latest EU directive, and allowing office workers to smoke using e-cigarettes inside their buildings.
The vaping advocates
Mark Pawsey MP, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on e-cigarettes, greeted the report and said e-cigarettes had a major role to play in reducing smoking rates.
“In particular I am pleased that Public Health England’s anti-smoking campaign’s will now positively reference their vaping advice, and that the government has committed to relook at relevant legislation as we exit the EU.”
Representatives of the vaping industry were also excited about the prospect of new opportunities for businesses after Brexit. Christian Mulcahy, business development director of multiCIG and multiVAPE, said: “The UK has the opportunity to lead the way on smoking cessation and in turn, support the incredible growth of the vaping market, now one of the fastest growing consumer goods industry in the world.”
Many of the world's biggest tobacco firms have also got on board with the e-cigarette trend, as smoker numbers plummet while e-cigarette usage grows.
Will Hill, director of British American Tobacco (BAT) UK & Ireland Ltd welcomed the support for "lower risk products".
“By adopting this more pragmatic approach and embracing innovation in the nicotine category, we believe the Government stands a much better chance of achieving its health objectives related to smoking.”
Giles Roca, director general of tobacco trade body the TMA, whose members include massive manufacturers BAT, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco International, said: “It is right that the government will review the measures imposed by the EU following Brexit and recognises that they have not been effective in delivering what they set out in doing”.
The smoking pressure group
Smoker advocacy group Forest criticised the government for its "punitive" approach, particularly the proposal to ban smoking on-site at all prisons, mental health facilities and hospitals. Director Simon Clark said: "In the 21st century tobacco control policies should focus on harm reduction products, not prohibition and other restrictive practises."
He added: "The tobacco control plan should include a systematic review of the impact of measures such as the display ban and plain packaging."