Rishi Cracks Down On UK Smoking & Youth Vaping

Today Rishi Sunak (UK Prime Minister) announced a new plan to combat smoking and youth vaping.

At first glance you may think this is all about smoking – but dig a bit deeper and there is a threat to vaping too.

The main announcement was the fact that tobacco purchasing will be banned for anyone born on or after January 9th 2009.

Basically children who are under 14 will never be able to legally purchase tobacco products.

The restriction is imposed on the sellers of the products. The purchasers will not be criminalised.

Also this method ensures that those who are legally able to purchase tobacco right now will not be prevented from doing so in the future.

Quitting Smoking
A raft of new measures will be introduced to help people quit smoking.

The government is investing…

·an additional £70 million per year to support local authority-led stop smoking services (SSS) – more than doubling current spend from £68 million per year (to a total of £138 million) and supporting around 360,000 people to set a quit date each year
·an additional £5 million this year and then £15 million per year after to fund new national anti-smoking campaigns – a substantial uplift on current spend
·up to £45 million over 2 years to roll out our new national ‘Swap to Stop’ scheme – supporting 1 million smokers to swap cigarettes for vapes
·up to £10 million over 2 years to provide evidence-based financial incentives to support all pregnant smokers to quit

Sadly the government are also trying to get their claws into vaping.

The main reason is to help prevent youth vaping.

The proposals the government are investigating include…

·restricting vape flavours
·regulating vape packaging and product presentation
·regulating point of sale displays
·restricting the sale of disposable vapes
·introducing an age restriction for non-nicotine vapes
·exploring further restrictions for other nicotine consumer products such as nicotine pouches
·preventing industry giving out free samples of vapes to children

Other Nicotine Products
The government will be consulting on regulation for other methods of nicotine consumption such as pouches later this month.

Apparently there may become a problem with youth use of other nicotine products and there are no age of sale restrictions but the government does have the power to implement these.

As new regulations are introduced in addition to existing regulations, enforcement really does need to be ramped up.

The government state they will be investing in enforcement, including…

·providing £30 million additional funding per year (from April 2024) to support enforcement agencies such as Trading Standards, Border Force and HMRC to implement and enforce the law (including enforcement of underage sales) and tackle illicit trade
·introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products, as well as vapes
·enhancing online age verification to stop underage sales of tobacco products and vapes online

HMRC and Border Force steps…
HMRC and Border Force will be publishing an updated Illicit Tobacco Strategy, which will:

·set out plans to target illegal activity at all stages of the supply chain to stamp out opportunities for criminals in light of the new rules.
·establish a multi-agency Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, led by HMRC and Border Force, to oversee future evolution of our illicit tobacco strategy

Many of the main THR (Tobacco Harm Reduction) groups have published responses and they are covered in separate articles below…

IBVTA – IBVTA welcomes tobacco phase out but highlights role of vapes as smoking cessation tool.

WVA (World Vapers’ Alliance) – Sunak’s cigarette ban misses the point on reducing smoking rates.

London Tobacco Alliance – London Tobacco Alliance Response To Rishi Sunak’s Announcement On Smoking.

ASH – APPG Smoking & Health and ASH Welcome Rishi Sunak’s Announcement On Smoking.

Science Media Centre – Expert Reaction To Rishi Sunak’s Announcement On Smoking.