Skip to content
Home » Minister’s shameful attack on licensing for vape retailers confirms public health now entirely secondary to political advantage

Minister’s shameful attack on licensing for vape retailers confirms public health now entirely secondary to political advantage

May 2024

In response to Tobacco and Vapes Bill Committee, Statement from UKVIA Director General, John Dunne:

“The Government’s committee discussion on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill today is a depressing example of political posturing at its worst. The industry fully accepts that something needs to be done about youth access to vaping, mostly to do with enforcing the law that prohibits them from buying vapes, but the Government are now charging down a blind alley with reckless abandon and are in danger of making the situation worse. That’s worse for our children, when a black market of unregulated vapes explodes onto the market and worse for public health, when adult smokers are deterred from quitting and all the good work achieved by vaping in dramatically reducing smoking rates goes up in smoke.

“Youth vaping is not totally the fault of this Government, but they cannot ignore the elephant in the room. The vaping industry has for years been calling for more resource for Trading Standards to police underage sales and yet this current administration have reduced funding while expecting more enforcement. The reaction to this situation, exemplified by the committee’s Chair, Andrea Leadsom, is to double down on blaming the industry for everything and taking no responsibility itself.

Today the Minister criticised the industry for daring to suggest that vape distributors and retailers should be licensed, a solution that the sector has been advocating for over 4 years; she said that it was a: ‘license for the industry to get rid of the competition and make loads more money and focus even more on getting children addicted to vapes’, which is completely nonsensical – if that’s all the industry was interested in, why bother advocating licensing? The fact is licensing would raise £50m from the industry itself to directly help Trading Standards to police illegal sales, substantially more than the £10m proposed by this government.

“There are undoubtedly bad actors in the vaping industry, either profiteering from illicit products or having a careless attitude to youth access. But the vast majority of the vaping industry are proud to be part of a public health revolution, with the first product that has a real chance of getting rid of smoking for good. The facts remain that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking and is by some way the most effective way for smokers to quit. Listening to the Government’s committee discuss vaping, you would think that they would prefer more smokers than more vapers, such is the level of hostility to vaping. Of course we need to protect our children and if banning disposable vapes is the way to do this, then so be it, but this has always been about balancing this need to protect children with the proven public health success of vaping and in the Government’s panic and bid for political expediency they are likely to make it worse for everyone”.

Leave a Reply