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Home » UKVIA Issues Letter to MPs over incorrect information presented to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Committee

UKVIA Issues Letter to MPs over incorrect information presented to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Committee

The UK Vaping Industry Association has issued a series of letters to MPs to raise concerns over ‘misleading, incomplete, unsubstantiated, or incorrect’ information which was presented to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Committee. The letter reads: 

 “On behalf of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), the UK’s largest vaping industry association, we are writing to express our grave concerns at the quality and accuracy of some of the oral evidence presented to what turned out to be a mainly one-sided Committee stage of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

“In order for the Committee to effectively scrutinise the Bill, is important that Committee members are presented with accurate and unbiased evidence that enables them to assess whether the Bill achieves its desired outcomes. This is particularly true when the subject matter is of such importance, as it will have a direct bearing on the health of so many of the current and future generations. Sadly, on this occasion, much of this evidence was either misleading, incomplete, unsubstantiated, or just incorrect as reflected in the attached document we have produced.

“We were worried that this would be the case when the Bill Committee decided not to invite any participants from the vaping industry, or indeed any representatives of the UK’s five million vapers, to give evidence. This, closely controlled selection process, had already been evident in the formation of the Committee, which did not include any MPs who opposed the second reading of the Bill.

“To be clear, the UKVIA is broadly supportive of the aims of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill and the impact it is expected to have on reducing smoking and youth vaping rates.

“Because the evidence was mainly given by those who have spoken out against vaping in the past, it presented a very skewed message which often conflated the legal compliant vape industry with the black market and frequently made no distinction between the tobacco and vaping industries.

“We recognise there are illegal traders in our industry who will sell to children, and criminal gangs who import black market devices, which can contain illegal and dangerous substances. The legitimate and majority side of the sector want to rid the country of this scourge on society and see them prosecuted, punished and driven out of business. To equate the illegal and legal vaping sectors is as unfair as saying that illegal immigrant smugglers and the Dover to Calais ferry do the same thing. One is illegal and needs to be stopped, the other performs a helpful and beneficial service.

“We are also not trying to water down, delay or circumvent the legislation but we do want to ensure that when MPs scrutinise this Bill they are doing so from an informed perspective which comes from fact not fiction. In scrutinising this Bill, MPs must balance the rights and needs of adult smokers to have access to the very best products to help them quit, with those of young people to be protected from age-restricted products, including vaping.

“This by no means is an easy path to navigate and it will be made even more treacherous whenever evidence presented to the Committee is so misleading that it does more harm than good. Not only does the underhand management of the Bill Committee’s oral evidence session risk the Bill not facing proper scrutiny prior to its third reading, but the selection process across the board was fundamentally undemocratic, with the people this Bill will impact the most not being able to provide evidence on how it can be improved.

“It is another example of the growing list of decisions by the Department of Health and Social Care to exclude the UKVIA and wider industry from any meaningful collaboration with the Department.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we are at pains to stress that the UKVIA does not have any members owned or controlled by the tobacco industry, nor does it accept any funding from tobacco industry participants.”

Alongside the letter, the UKVIA has also issued a report which reviews some of the evidence presented by those who were invited to speak during the Committee stage of the bill. 

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