UK politicians behind a new report labelled Beyond TPD are calling for an increase in vape tank sizes and nicotine levels, as well as other key recommendations.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping [APPG] has gathered evidence and testimonies from medical experts, advocacy groups and vapers that have quit smoking thanks to e-cigarettes.
The report is crucial, and will hopefully be used by the UK Government as a building block for its revised Tobacco and Related Products Regulations [TRPR] expected later this year.
The TRPR is the UK’s version of the EU’s TPD, and it’s that legislation responsible – among other vape rules – for the 2ml tank limit and of course the 10ml e-liquid bottles.
APPG members called for written submissions from interested parties back in April 2021 and also carried out a face to face parliamentary session in June this year.
The final report – Inquiry into UK Tobacco Harm Reduction Opportunities Post-Brexit: Achieving a Smoke-Free 2030 – has now been released and could be the blueprint for new legislation for both vaping and other so called ‘novel’ nicotine products.
Beyond TPD – Battling the World Health Organization
Chairman Mark Pawsey MP reiterated that UK MPs and advocates will be attending the COP9 meeting in November, and will be doing all they can to stop the WHO’s call for a global vape ban.
Read more on the WHO’s anti-vaping stance: WHO Slams Vaping As Harmful In Latest Anti-Vape Report
In his introduction to the report he said:
…the UK will – for the first time – be attending the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of Parties 9 later this year as an independent nation.
As such we will be free to stand up to the prevailing voices around the ‘virtual’ table and champion the role that vapes and other reduced-risk nicotine delivery systems are playing in the UK to help people quit using combustible tobacco.
This report is the culmination of an inquiry in which the APPG received hundreds of submissions from the vaping industry, organisations and members of the public who recounted their personal experiences, testifying as to how they have used these products to finally quit cigarettes for good.
I hope the report is looked favourably upon by Ministers and the UK Government and that they grasp this opportunity to set the UK on a real tobacco harm reduction journey which will ensure we reach our Smoke-Free 2030 target.
Good stuff to say the least.
Beyond TPD – Key Recommendations
The Beyond TPD inquiry looked at four key points:
What is the likelihood of England reaching its smoke-free 2030 target under existing regulations?
According to the findings, the UK will fall short of this target and Cancer Research UK says it may not be reached until 2037.
The ‘big idea’ is to have England’s smoking levels down to 5% prevalence of the population.
How effective are existing regulations concerning vapes and other reduced-risk products including nicotine pouches, snus, heated tobacco products and other emerging types of nicotine
The APPG says freedom of choice is key, especially as vaping in particular is in a very different place than it was when the TPD and TRPR was first written.
…the regulations weren’t built to address the innovations we have seen since they came into force.
Given we now have a much wider range of reduced-risk nicotine delivery systems available for smokers, we need to ensure that they are regulated properly and proportionately, and in a way that
allows for the greatest choice to help smokers move off cigarettes, but prevents unintended usage by young people and non-smokers.
Where are the areas for potential legislative development and divergence from EU law?
The BIG question!
In other words, what can the UK do post Brexit to remove the shackles of the Draconian TPD legislation.
The APPG says:
Now we have left the EU, the UK will no longer have to ensure that domestic regulation complies with the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive. Therefore, we have the opportunity to consider regulatory changes that suit the situation we have here in the UK, that better reflect our long-standing adoption of the harm reduction principle, whilst continuing to protect from unintended – and unwanted consequences.
This is not a time to diverge and weaken the rules we have, it is a time to ensure they are fit-for-purpose.
Couldn’t agree more.
What are the key recommendations for tobacco/nicotine-related legislation within UK law post-Brexit?
The crux of the matter and as you can see, the APPG has reached out and listened to all interested parties, including vapers.
The APPG wanted to ensure that as many views as possible were represented when we conducted our Inquiry so that we could make clear recommendations to the Government – on a cross-party basis – for them to take into consideration for this important opportunity we have this year.
This really is an incredible moment for the UK to continue promoting vaping and other new nicotine products, as a safe way to quit lit tobacco.
So what are the final recommendations from the APPG?
Beyond TPD – SNUS and Heat Not Burn
I’ll get onto Beyond TPD and vaping in a moment.
The APPG has called for the UK Government to remove the ban and legalize the sale of tobacco based SNUS.
Now that we have left the European Union the UK Government has the ability to legalise snus – something that a number of submissions to the inquiry highlighted.
Another – non-combustible – alternative to UK smokers, especially one with such an impressive track record, both in its science, assessment by authorities and potential for helping smokers off cigarettes, could reasonably be considered a positive addition to the range of reduced-risk nicotine delivery products available in the UK.
smokers in the UK.
It also recommends that none tobacco based SNUS – should remain on sale here in the UK.
Heat Not Burn Regulations
The report suggests HNB products are in a bit of a grey area and the UK has fallen behind on some aspects.
However the APPG reiterates that according to Public Health England:
The available evidence suggests that heated tobacco products may be considerably less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and more harmful than e-cigarettes.
It says the current tax levy on HNB products should be halved making them more affordable and of course accessible to smokers looking to quit.
Recommendations For New UK Vape Legislation
Yes, the APPG really is calling for the silly 2ml tank size to be removed AND the current 20mg nicotine limit to be raised.
Vaping has proven itself to be effective, however it is important to listen to both smokers and vapers in order to realise its full potential to help people quit smoking.
The level of nicotine in e-liquids should be raised in order to ensure it is at a level which is satisfactory for those who require a stronger liquid to help them move off, and stay off, cigarettes (those who are heavy smokers).
The arbitrary limits on tank size and re-fill containers should also be removed in order to simplify the process to use these products and ensure that there are no unnecessary hurdles in the ease of use.
In order to standardise and simplify the treatment of these products, all regulations applied to nicotine-containing liquids should also be applied to non-nicotine liquids in order to ensure their safe use and avoid undermining public confidence.
You really couldn’t ask for a better set of new UK vape regulations with the 2ml tank size in particular a real bone of contention among vapers.
I’ve said before I’m easy about the 20mg nic limits, but key again here is choice – so yeah I get it 🙂
One thing is VERY clear, and that is the APPG isn’t at all happy about the continued media led misinformation surrounding e-cigarettes.
Using a recent Public Health England report it found that:
- 29% of current smokers believed vaping was less harmful than smoking.
- 38% believed vaping was as harmful as smoking.
- 18% did not know whether vaping or smoking was more harmful.
- 15% of smokers believed vaping was more harmful than smoking.
- Misperceptions were more pronounced among smokers from social grades C2, D and E
This, says the Beyond TPD report, is of concern adding:
This is a worrying situation and needs to be addressed if we are to realise the full benefit of vapes – and indeed, other reduced-risk nicotine-based delivery systems – for smokers.
Combined with the fact that there is currently a mixed picture on vaping numbers, it shows that correcting misperception and ensuring all communications – whether from the Government, Public Health England, or manufacturers – reaches smokers is key.
The more that is done in a factual and consistent way, supported by the right regulatory framework, would inevitably lead to the decline in smokers believing the scare stories when they read them in the media.
If this is indeed the blueprint the UK Government will use for new vape legislation then it’s pretty much perfect.
It is so very refreshing to see a cross party group of politicians not only listening to those in the know, but acting on those recommendations.
I particularly like the theme running through the report that calls for a clear separation of none tobacco products from tobacco products!
I know that sounds a little silly, but how many times have we the vapers shouted that vaping products are NOTHING to do with tobacco!
The report makes this difference VERY clear:
The distinction for the barrier for entry into these regulations should be the evidence-based absence of combustion.
The key distinction should not be between tobacco and non-tobacco, or between new products and ‘traditional’ products, but between combustible and non-combustible products.
It’s a fantastic report and includes a ton of scientific evidence as well as those all important personal stories of how vaping has helped smokers quit.
Let’s hope the UK Government doesn’t just pay it lip service – but acts on it.
Note: The APPG Twitter feed – is well worth following.