The UK has stated they plan on reviewing controversial e-cigarette regulations once Brexit is finalized
Vaping regulations can be a quite complex issue, especially depending on where you live. For something as new as e-cigarettes, it’s understandable why so many places have chosen to handle them differently. What can be extra confusing is when these regulations overlap and contradict each other. Such has been the case in the UK for several years now thanks to an EU law called the Tobacco Products Directive or TPD. But with Brexit likely on the horizon, the UK government is making clear they plan on reevaluating the unpopular policy as soon as possible.
Many health experts in the UK had grown concerned over the drop in yearly smokers picking up vaporizers, with figures dropping from 800,000 to just over 100,000. Making matters worse, they say, is that more than a third of smokers still have not tried vaping due to false concerns over their safety. The UK has done as much as anyone to educate their people about the benefits of vaping, such as how they’re at least 95% safer than smoking. So if they’re having trouble with public perception, you can bet most places will. They hope by refocusing their regulations, they’ll be able to increase how many people understand the harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of vaping.
The debate over the Tobacco Products Directive has been ongoing since they were first implemented. The most hotly contested portion of the law is the ban on any e-liquids with higher than 20mg/ml. Supporters of the TPD claim that nicotine levels this high serve no purpose, but critics have been quick to dispute this. One of the most common and successful methods for quitting smoking with vaping is to start with very high nicotine content, then gradually stepping down the concentration until you’re satisfied with very little or none. Critics of the TPD claim this ban on e-liquids with high levels of nicotine is creating a situation which actively makes it harder for smokers just starting to quit.
As a result of this increased pressure and the upcoming Brexit, the UK formally committed to reviewing and revising the vaping regulations across the country. Their goal is to make it easier for smokers to access vaping products while keeping them out of the hands of minors. A statement published by the Department of Health and Social Care said explicitly that they would take a hard look at precisely where they can make common sense changes that deregulate vaping without putting teens in harm’s way. “The government’s goal will remain to achieve a proportionate approach to managing risk, one which protects the young and non-smokers, whilst giving smokers access to products which will reduce harm.”
Improving Public Perception
So while the UK has made it clear they’re open to new regulations, exactly how they go about these changes could vary significantly. A report published last year took a hard look at potential evidence-based changes to e-cigarette regulation. It identified misinformation and fear of the unknown as primary causes of the rampant misconceptions about vaping and vaping products. One of the most significant things they proposed was major changes to the TPD. These included adding Heat not Burn devices to the annual review on alternative nicotine products, as well as solidify their regulations on chewing tobacco.
Many people were excited about the report’s stance on working in conjunction with the UK government’s commitment to support of vaporizers. It ensures their first concern remains to help smokers end their dependence on tobacco once and for all. It also clearly supports the need for peer-reviewed evidence to back our policymaking. Reports like this are leading the way for legislators as they attempt to reevaluate vaping regulations moving forward.
This change could ultimately be another massive break for vaping in the UK. With the ban on high concentration e-liquids lifted, it will become that much easier for smokers to successfully quit using an e-cigarette. That being said, it could also potentially go terribly wrong. Given that this revision is taking place in the UK, it’s probably safe to assume vaping rights will be protected, if not expanded. But when similar changes are taking place elsewhere, it often spells disaster for vaping rights. That’s why it’s so critical we spread positive information about vaping because public support is the best way to secure our rights.
Are you glad the UK is likely to repeal the TPD? Do you think it will have a significant impact on the number of smokers taking up vaping? What do you think is 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.