VB-31 Jan 2024

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january 26 2024 5

A new study from researchers at

UCL shows that the decline in

smoking prevalence in England

has slowed signif cantly since the

pandemic. Lead author Dr Sarah

Jackson cites as one of the reasons

the increasing misperception re-

garding the risks of vaping compared

with smoking.

“T is important research from

UCL shows that the Government’s

smoke-free ambition is stalling,”

said IBVTA chair Marcus Saxton.

“T e authors also rightly point

to the media attention on vaping

and the subsequent disconnect

between the substantially greater

risks from smoking. 43% of smok-

ers believe that vaping is equally

or more harmful than smoking, an

increase of 60% since 2019. T ese

are truly shocking f gures, ref ect-

ing the never-ending cycle of

negative stories on vaping,

therefore it is of no surprise

that smoking rates remain

stubbornly high.

‘Smoke-free ambition is stalling’:

‘Smoke-free ambition is stalling’:

IBVTA responds to new study

IBVTA responds to new study

Resisting vaping helps nobody’s health – UCL

Consumer body World Vapers’

Alliance (WVA) has vehe-

mently criticised the World

Health Organisation’s (WHO)

demand for a ban on vaping

f avours.

“T e WHO’s latest stance

on vaping f avours is not just

misguided, it’s dangerously

out of touch with scientif c

reality,” Michael Landl, WVA

director, said.

“By pushing for a blanket

ban, the WHO blatantly dis-

regards a wealth of scientif c

evidence that underscores

the benef ts of vaping when

compared to alternatives.

Flavoured e-cigarettes have

been proven to increase the

chances of successful smok-

ing cessation by 230 per cent

compared to non-f avored al-

ternatives. It’s appalling to see

such a pivotal public health

tool being dismissed by an

organisation that should be

at the forefront of harm re-


T e WHO had urged gov-

ernments to treat e-cigarettes

similarly to tobacco and ban

all f avours.

T e WVA highlighted that

vaping is 95% less harmful

than smoking and more ef-

fective in aiding smoking ces-

sation than traditional meth-

ods like gum and patches. T e

organisation emphasised that

restricting or banning ac-

cess to vaping f avours will

not only undermine public

health ef orts, but also lead

to unnecessary loss of lives.

“T e WHO’s proposal is

a blatant neglect of its duty

to protect public health. It’s

a disservice to millions of

smokers and vapers who

have successfully quit smok-

ing through f avoured e-cig-

arettes,” Landl added.

“It’s time for the WHO to

start basing its decisions on

science and real-world evi-

dence rather than perpetu-

ating unfounded fears and

moral panic.”

As the WVA ‘s French

slogan has it, “Flavours help

smokers quit”.

Consumers condemn WHO’s

proposed f avour ban

“T e focus on vaping, particu-

larly single use products that are

important to quit attempts is

driving this misperception. We

welcome proportionate legisla-

tion, but these smoking f gures

show now is not the time to ban

those vaping devices and f avours

that are crucial to getting smokers

to quit tobacco.

“T ere are clear challenges for

the vaping sector but through a

proportionate and evidence-based

approach vaping can remain a

vital smoking cessation tool and

encourage those smokers to make

that switch before it is too late.”

T e study, funded by Cancer

Research UK and published in the

journal BMC Medicine, looked at

survey responses from 101,960

adults between June 2017 and

August 2022.

Before the Covid-19 pandem-

ic, from June 2017 to February

2020, smoking prevalence fell by

5.2 per cent a year, but this rate of

decline slowed to 0.3 per cent

during the pandemic (from April

2020 to August 2022), the study

found. T is stall in the decline of

smoking was particularly pro-

nounced among advantaged

social groups – that is, people in

households whose highest earn-

ers were in professional, manage-

rial or clerical jobs, as opposed to

manual jobs.

Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson

(UCL Institute of Epidemiology &

Health Care) said: “Smoking prev-

alence has been falling for more

than 20 years. Our data show that

this decline has stalled.”

Trading standards seize

Trading standards seize

76,000 illegal vapes in

76,000 illegal vapes in



Tens of thousands of illegal vapes

with a street value of more than £1

million have been seized in Newcas-

tle, amid an “explosion” in sales of

the products linked to organised

crime gangs.

Councillors were left “horrifi ed”

as they were told of the scale of the

city’s vaping problems.

Newcastle Trading Standards

manager David Ellerington told how

his team had seized 3.3 tonnes’

worth since an “explosion” in their

popularity from autumn 2021 –

equating to around 76,000 e-cig-

arettes and refi ll containers, worth

a total £1.1m.

Number of indie vape

Number of indie vape

shops rose signifi cantly

shops rose signifi cantly

in 2023

in 2023

The number of independent vape

shops has jumped again across the

UK in 2023, with 233 shops being

opened, new fi gures have revealed.

The increase is signifi cantly high-

er than the net increase of 61 shops

in 2022, according to the data from

Local Data Company (LDC). In 2021

the sector saw a net decline of 23


The country now has a total of

3,573 specialist vape shops, accord-

ing to the LDC, showing robust growth

in the demand for vapes from physi-

cal stores not including c-stores and


Rumour of proposed new

Rumour of proposed new

tax on vape liquids

tax on vape liquids

The government is believed to be

planning a new tax on vape liquids.

The proposed tax, set to be in-

troduced in the March budget, will

raise the prices by at least 25%, as

well as introduce a “generational”

smoking ban, said a report.

The paper said ministers are “keen

to push ahead with the tax” to prevent

children buying vapes.

Meanwhile, the government still

maintains it wants to encourage

people who smoke cigarettes to

switch to vaping, whilst discourag-

ing non-smokers – particularly

children – from starting vaping.


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