Thanks to their decision to leave the EU, the UK may soon have to alter their tobacco warning labels which opens the door for repealing the disastrous TPD
Warning labels have been proven effective at helping a larger percentage of people understand the risk they incur when using a given product. For instance, the addition of warning labels on packs of cigarettes was vital in helping transition society toward a widespread understanding of their risks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that warning labels are always the answer. Sometimes, like in the case of vaping, they have often made things more challenging for an otherwise valuable tool.
When the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, there was a lot of regulatory changes to process and alter. One of these changes concerned the warning labels currently in use on cigarette packages across the country. The end result being that the UK must now decide for themselves what type and how much information should be included on tobacco products. But what may have a much more significant impact on the vaping industry in the UK is the golden opportunity presented to repeal the highly unpopular Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
Brexit And The TPD
The reason that any of this is happening is ultimately down to copyright law. The EU happens to own the copyright for the labels currently used on packs of cigarettes in the UK. With the so-called exit day is quickly approaching, many industries are making plans for immediately afterward. So while the UK is currently in talks, they’ve also made contingency plans in case they fall through. They’ve already made a preliminary deal with Australia to use their graphics and labels if there is no deal made. This particular issue has a more substantial impact on the tobacco industry, but many in the vaping industry see this as the perfect chance to repeal the unpopular Tobacco Products Directive.
The Tobacco Products Directive or TPD was instituted back in May of 2016 and aimed to limit the number of tobacco products advertised and sold on the market. The issue that many in the vaping community take with the TPD is how it equates vaping products with their much more harmful counterparts. Critics have pointed to dramatically slowed rates of switching from smoking to vaping since the TPD was implemented as proof it’s having a negative impact on public perception of vaping. In fact, it’s estimated that the number of yearly converts has dropped from 800,000 all the way down to 100,000.
The Evidence For Vaping
The TPD’s negative impact on vaping could be forgiven if it wasn’t so clear how much safer e-cigarettes are than smoking. We’ve known since late 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to research published by Public Health England. Then last year we got substantial evidence indicating that vaping is the best smoking cessation tool we have, even more likely to help you quit than prescription drugs.
As if that wasn’t enough to justify their value, we also have research which concludes vaping doesn’t lure non-smoking teens into a life of vaping as many parents and politicians would have you believe. A survey of over 60,000 students found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever even start vaping, let alone full-blown smoking. Topping things off, we also have clear evidence which proves second-hand vaping is nowhere near as long-lasting or dangerous as second-hand smoke. All of this research makes a solid case that vaping should be treated differently than smoking when it comes to regulations and warning labels.
The UK is the world leader in vaping rights, but even they have challenging fights to face. But this potential problem caused by Brexit may actually end up being a positive for the vaping industry if we can get the TPD repealed or significantly altered. The TPD has only made vaping look worse to the general public, while further blurring the lines between the risks of vaping and the risks of smoking. But if we can take advantage of this opportunity, it would be one less obstacle in the way of vaping reaching its full potential as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. If we genuinely want to live in a world that’s one day free from the smoking epidemic, we must be utilizing all of our best available tools, including vaping.
Do you think the vaping industry should take this opportunity to get the TPD repealed? Do you think doing so would have a significant impact on public perception? What’s the best way to spread positive information about vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.