London, UK — UK ministers are considering imposing higher taxes on vaping products and enforcing new regulations on packaging and flavours in response to the Khan review published last year, as reported by Politico.
The UK has been recognised as a smoking-cessation champion – smoking rates have fallen by more than 29% in the last decade since vaping became widely popular. Compared to the EU, smoking rates in the UK have fallen twice as fast. Just this month, the UK was crowned as one of the tobacco harm reduction champions by the World Vapers’ Alliance in the Tobacco Harm Reduction Policy Primer.
“The United Kingdom proves that lower smoking rates can be achieved with an open approach toward alternative nicotine products such as vaping. The high adoption of vaping due to broad political backing is why smoking rates decrease faster than in other countries. Vaping is not the problem. Knee-jerk reactions endanger all anti-smoking progress seen over the last years,” said Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance.
One of the stated reasons for the initiative is the recent increase in youth vaping in the UK. The World Vapers’ Alliance points out that increased prices and a potential flavour ban are missing the target:
“It is important to do everything we can to keep nicotine products out of adolescents’ hands, but policies must go further to the root of the problem. Simple bans and tax increases will only create an illicit market without any age or quality checks”, added Landl.
An often ignored explanation for vaping uptake by adolescence is a “common liability.” In other words, adolescents who are likely to vape are also likely to smoke – e.g. because of personality traits, genetic predisposition, or social and environmental factors.
“If politicians really want to protect young people, they should fight for better education, health care and economic conditions. Unfortunately, those goals are hard to achieve, and therefore, too many politicians revert to headline-grabbing but ineffective policies ignoring the actual outcome. If the UK gets this wrong, millions of consumers could be pushed back to smoking or the illicit market.“