A committee of the U.K. Parliament has issued a report endorsing the promotion of e-cigarettes to smokers, and calling for review of some vaping products restrictions. The report also rejects the idea that vaping acts as a gateway to smoking among British youth.
The committee concludes that U.K. lawmakers and regulators should not treat vapor products the same as combustible cigarettes.
The report, from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, follows months of testimony from public health and scientific experts, and representatives from tobacco control organizations, and the vaping industry and consumer community. The committee is chaired by MP Norman Lamb of North Norfolk.
The specific recommendations from the committee are:
- Encourage a wider debate about vaping in public places
- Continue to annually review the evidence on e-cigarettes, and extend the review to heat-not-burn products
- Institute a long-term research program overseen by Public Health England and the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
- Review the 20 mg/mL limit on e-liquid nicotine strength
- Review the 2 mL limit on tank size
- Review the prohibition on making health claims for the relative health benefits of vaping versus smoking
- Regulations, advertising rules, and taxes should “reflect the evidence of the relative harms of the various e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn and tobacco products available”
- The National Health Service (NHS) should allow vaping in mental health facilities as a default policy
- The government should review the evidence supporting the current ban on snus
Some of the recommendations can’t be acted upon until the U.K. leaves the European Union, since the rules are part of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The nicotine strength and tank size limits, and the advertising restrictions are all mandated by the TPD. The snus ban is also part of EU tobacco regulations. (Snus is Swedish smokeless tobacco that has been shown to carry no discernible risk.)
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