UK Tobacco Control ‘Doomsday’ Legislation Scenario Debated By MPs
To call the current state of British politics a sh!t show is an understatement but UK MPs still found time to debate a post Brexit ‘what if‘ scenario over vaping and tobacco legislation.
It was on their first day back after the lengthy Christmas break the catchilly titled Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 was debated to a pretty much empty chamber…
Please feel free to read it by cross referencing all the points made…I tried and got brain fog…talk about gobbledygook…
However no vote was taken as until MPs decide the fate of Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal next Tuesday this piece of amended legislation along with around 900 others are pretty much hot air.
These amendments would simply be a ‘stop-gap‘ to take the UK’s policy on all things tobacco – including e-cigarettes – e-liquid and advertising laws on such products – through until the Houses of Parliament and Lords can thrash out any permanent changes to the TRPR – the UK’s implementation of the EU’s TPD.
Some Areas Of The TPD and TRPR Could Be Revised
It was the TPD that laid out the legislation on tobacco products /e-cigs and it was up to member states to implement them as they saw fit. Despite many of us saying the UK is pretty liberal around the law on vaping, it was the Government of the day that brought in for instance the 10ml juice rule…among other things. Such a pity they didn’t know then what they know now…
It’s a very complicated area even with the UK still within the EU. Any deal on Brexit will of course make most legislation cloudier than a thousand vapers in a broom cupboard. However when the air clears the UK Government would have the power to scrap some of the more draconian rules around e-cigarettes – nicotine and e-liquid, indeed the Government has ‘hinted‘ some areas of the TRPR in particular ‘may‘ be revised. But like I said it’s all hot air at the moment and will continue to be so until the Brexit mess is sorted once and for all.
Ok so what are the main issues around these amendments? Not much really…like I said this is a mere ‘holding piece of proposed legislation‘ to make sure the UK’s current policy of tobacco and e-cigarettes are still applicable in law. For instance the EU Commission currently holds sway over the tobacco and e-cig legislation and in the event of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ being voted for, those powers would pass to the Secretary of State The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP.
On opening the debate on Tuesday The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Brine MP laid out 3 key pieces of the TRPR that will need amending should the No Deal Brexit be passed:
- a new domestic system to allow producers to notify e-cigarettes in accordance with existing rules (part 1)
- the introduction of new picture warnings for tobacco products, based on the picture library owned by the Australian government (part 2)
- transfer of tobacco control legislation from EU to the Secretary of State(part 3)
As to part one Mr Brine said:
First, in the event of no deal, the UK will need to develop its own domestic notification systems for companies that wish to sell tobacco products and e-cigarettes on the UK market. The notification process is essential for ensuring that companies are complying with legislation on product standards.
Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have already commenced work to ensure that domestic notification systems are in place and functional by exit day.
The UK will no longer be able to show the current batch of graphic warning photographs on tobacco products due to the EU effectively owning the copyright on all such images! However and this is for me ironic to say the least – the Australian Government has said Britain can use theirs. I say ironic given Australia’s stance on all things vaping – it’s pretty much banned and criminalized if using nic based e-liquids – AND despite graphic images AND mind boggling taxation on lit tobacco – the country has seen a growth in the number of smokers…make of that what you will.
Finally on part three that’s pretty much self explanatory – if or when we leave the EU someone will need to be in charge of tobacco control and the Secretary of State for Health is the obvious choice.
Again I have to stress that all this will be pretty pointless – and costly – if the No Deal is rejected as it looks ever more likely to be.
‘Nonsensical’ TRPR Legislation Should Be Reviewed
I have a tiny grasp of differing scenarios on outcomes of the vote next week thanks to the excellent summing up by the young folks news channel Newsround lol. Trust me it is a clear and concise layout of what to expect whichever way the vote goes next week and suggest if you’re [like most of us including many MPs] confused by it all go take a look 😉
Mark Pawsey MP who sat on the Science and Technology Committee – and who’s extremely supportive of vaping – summed it all up really saying he looked forward to any new legislation that will rid the current TRPR of some of those ‘nonsensical‘ rules:
The vaping industry welcomes the Government’s sensible planning, but has a particular concern about products that are already registered with the EU. The industry producing such products is looking for some clarification from the Minister and some assurance about whether products that are already registered will need to be re-registered under the new UK-based system.
The Minister has spoken about the opportunity to reappraise our legislation. Of course, e-cigarettes are controlled by the tobacco products regulations, despite there not being any tobacco at all in such products. There are three issues that are of concern to users in particular.
The first is the cap on nicotine strength in vaping liquids. In many cases, it is too low to encourage heavy smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, which we know are far better for their health and which we want to encourage. There are restrictions on both the size of bottle in which vaping liquids can be sold and the tank size of vaping devices, both of which appear to be completely arbitrary, with no basis to them.
Both users of e-cigarettes and the manufacturing sector are hoping that this may be an opportunity for the Minister to rectify the regulations, which, frankly, are nonsensical. I look forward to the Minister’s response on those points.
So now we wait…lol…