Majority Of UK Youngsters That Vape Are Already Smokers Says MPs

A group of UK MPs recommend raising the legal age of buying tobacco from 18 to 21 and want an easier route for companies to bring out ‘medicinally licensed’ e-cigarettes.

The group didn’t suggest raising the legal age of buying e-cigs and indeed seemed happy with them being used as an alternative to smoking. They also reiterated last week’s report from PHE on the low levels of under 18s taking up vaping:

The UK regulations seem to be working. There is little or no regular use of e-cigarettes by children, and where it does occur it is among children who also smoke.

Furthermore, as required by the regulations, the Government must review whether they are effective and publish a report within five years (by 20 May 2021), and every five years thereafter.

uk youth smoking levels drop

A far more sensible approach over here than the current hysteria over there – as in the current nicotine witch-hunt that’s being played out daily in America.

OK the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health is made up from MPs and Lords of all parties with a brief to monitor – discuss – review and suggest changes to legislation aimed at reducing the number of smokers in England and the rest of the UK with support from Action on Smoking and Health [ASH].

In simple terms this particular group keeps an eye on current tobacco control legislation and produces a Green paper on its findings/recommendations. This ‘paper’ is then presented to Parliament for discussion meaning any ideas the group may have still have a long way to go before being written into law.

E-Cigarettes ‘Should Be Available On Prescription’

Whilst focusing heavily on lit tobacco the group did come up with a couple of recommendations regarding e-cigarettes including my bug bear – vape kits on prescription. This is a topic I covered in great detail in the article: No…E-Cigarettes Should Not Be Available On Prescription and Here’s Why – so I won’t go into too much detail as to why I’m very anti that idea.

The APPG says:

…medical organisations like the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association believe that having medicinally-licensed e-cigarettes available as an additional option could be helpful as it could give health professionals confidence in the safety and efficacy of such devices.

This could also help address the public misperceptions about the relative risks of smoking and vaping and so help encourage the 40% of smokers who have not tried e-cigarettes as a quitting aid to do so.

Furthermore medicinally licensed e-cigarettes could be made available on prescription, which is not allowed for unlicensed products.

The 2017 Tobacco Control Plan for England committed to “ensure that the route to medicinal regulation for e-cigarette products is fit for purpose so that a range of safe and effective products can potentially be made available for NHS prescription”


I’m all for the free market and ‘additional options’ I’m just cautious that if legislation is passed making it easier for ‘licensed e-cigarettes’ there may be an opening to add even more tiers of legislation to those that are unlicensed – like the one you’re using now.

The mere thought of Government approved vape kits just instinctively makes me shudder…particularly if they don’t deliver as well as the new and improved e-cigarettes from established bona fide’ vape companies. The whole thing could become a costly calamity with the NHS pushing ‘licensed’ but sub standard kits onto the UK smokers who may not get the right kit for them and return to the cancer sticks…

evoke e-cigarette

And to date there’s only been one so called prescription vape that has passed through all the eye wateringly expensive and stringent testing – the BAT [British American Tobacco] eVOKE. However that was removed from production and another company publicly stated interest but then pulled its application.

I would therefore like to see the NHS working far more closely with the vaping industry and in particular encourage and support schemes such as the hugely successful Quit4Life scheme in Hampshire.

As I showed in the article Smokers In Hampshire To Be Given Free Vouchers For Vape Starter Kits – giving smokers a voucher and letting them chat with knowledgeable vape shop staff is not only cheap but very effective.

Free E-Cigarettes On The NHS In Manchester

Indeed there’s a similar scheme currently ongoing in Trafford Manchester. However in this case they’re cutting out the vape shop staff using a ‘stop smoking advisor’ and offering 4 weeks worth of e-liquid and a device.

Executive health official Councillor Judith Lloyd said:

One of the best things that anyone can do in 2019 to improve their health and wellbeing is to stop smoking.

We are offering Trafford residents a free e-cigarette starter kit, with professional smoking cessation support to encourage people to stop smoking in 2019.

If you currently smoke but would like to quit, and would like to try a free e-cigarette, please visit one the 6 pharmacies in Trafford who are offering this service before the end of March.

If you live in the area you can find the 6 chemists HERE.

trafford council free vapes

It’s without doubt a great idea however they’ve cut out those in the know – as in the vape shop – and whilst not calling into question the ‘stop smoking advisors’ knowledge of vaping I would hazard a guess the local vapers probably know more.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article: E-Cigarettes Sold in Chemists Shops Are Owned By Big Tobacco.

From what I can still gather the only starter kits you’ll find in most UK chemists are Nicocig and Vype – both owned by Big Tobacco companies and hardly the best vape device/kits to quit smoking with compared to the newer and in many cases cheaper options from other vape companies. And by pushing the cash to Big Tobacco they’re missing a trick by not supporting their local vape businesses…

Like I said great idea but the Manchester scheme is offering limited if no choice of starter kits for smokers desperate to quit and that’s just plain wrong…they really need to embrace the expertise of vape shop staff…as I said last year: Could Vape Shops Team Up With the NHS and Should They?

Read the full report: Delivering the vision of a ‘Smokefree Generation’ The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health response to ‘Prevention is better than cure’

Neil H
I began vaping over 7 years ago and found it easy to give up a 40 per day roll-up habit! DTL: Lost Vape DNA75C BF - Dead Rabbit SQ - MTL: JacVapour Sandstorm DNA 75 + Savour RTA...Beater set-up Lost Vape DNA 250c and Reload RTA I'm a former journalist and now a sort of writer and author.. I'm an Army veteran - adore dogs and never happier than with a good book on a beach.


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