England officially sides with vaping!

The country’s pro-vaping policies are far different than those in the U.S.

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England is the first country in the world to recommend vaping to smokers as part of its official tobacco control plan. The 32-page document was released Tuesday. It applies only to England, not the entire United Kingdom, which also includes Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

“This is probably the first significant government policy paper anywhere that recognises and pursues the opportunities of tobacco harm reduction, rather than defining these technologies as a threat to be suppressed,” wrote Clive Bates in his blog.

England has been a pioneer -- the pioneer -- in promoting vaping to smokers.

The plan is starkly different from American tobacco control efforts. The idea that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the California Department of Public Health, might actually recommend that smokers use reduced-risk products like e-cigarettes to improve their health is about as likely as Stanton Glantz tearing open a pack of Kools and lighting up at a UCSF fundraiser.

England has been a pioneer — the pioneer — in promoting vaping to smokers. It wasn’t that long ago — just two years, in fact, in 2015 — when Public Health England’s “E-cigarettes: an evidence update” shook the foundations of tobacco control, and defined the divide in public health between harm reduction and prohibition.

Vaping in the workplace? Yes, please!

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Last year, PHE issued guidance to employers, reminding them, “Different approaches will be appropriate in different places, but policies should take account of the evidence and clearly distinguish vaping from smoking.”

The tobacco control plan makes that advice more official. “This recognises that decisions on vaping policy should rest with owners and managers of premises – and that the justification to override the preferences of property owners with blanket vape-free laws does not exist,” writes Clive Bates. “This is an ethically robust position to take.”

Will England dump the TPD after Brexit?

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The hated Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) provoked many vapers to vote to leave the European Union last year. The tobacco control plan provides the first official hint that England could possibly abandon the TPD after the U.K. exits the E.U.

“We will look to identify where we can sensibly deregulate without harming public health or where EU regulations limit our ability to deal with tobacco,” says the Department of Health. “In particular, the government will assess recent legislation such as the Tobacco Products Directive, including as it applies to e-cigarettes, and consider where the UK’s exit provides opportunity to alter the legislative provisions to provide for improved health outcomes within the UK context.”

That would be a welcome development for vapers and vaping businesses. The disruption to the market caused by the pointless regulations of the TPD has caused some vape companies in the U.K. to close, and forced vapers to hack devices and DIY e-liquid to have workable gear.

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Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.
  • Kevin

    The disparity is simple to understand if you look at it like this; The UK has a Government Sponsored Healthcare system where if people are healthier, they stand to save millions in costs. Here is the USA, we have a Private Healthcare System where people that are sick or dying equates to MAKING millions or billions of dollars. I have been saying this for the last 4 years and as time goes by it becomes MORE apparent that it IS about money and NOT about helping people lead healthier lives. Thank you Jim for another article that shows us the stark differences between the two!

    • Pepperoni

      I’m not sure how the US system works as I’m from the Netherlands. I vape for 3 years now, read every research/articie possible and also set up my own shop.

      Here we pay a monthly fee and we get taken care of for the most part, most likely similar to the UK. However even there there’s money involved, so I’m actually surprised how UK reacted to vaping, especially considering a pack costs like $12 ($7 here) and most of it is taxes/fees.

      Smokers provide and cost everybody bags of cash their whole lives. The numbers blow most people’s minds but ofcourse never make the news.

      Healthcare system, even a global one like ours. Monthly fees are increased due to more people getting ill overall, so non-smokers also pay for smokers this way. With a small increase this is already 100’s of millions a year depending on the population.

      Pension fund – a smoker lives a shorter life on average? There’s a few 10.000’s for the government again that they would else lose.

      Pharmaceutical companies: less heart diseases and everything else, so less medication. All current nicotine products become almost useless so they lose a huge amount of money from that too

      Tobacco: Well obvious no cigarettes no money

      Many more smaller parties will also lose millions – a lighter company like Bic for example.

      Smoking a pack a day for 40 years costs 80.000+ here. Guess how much more they make with the rest. Spoiler: it’s a lot 😉