EU Tobacco Directive

3rd July 2017
St Albans MP Anne Main warned of the negative effect the European Union’s tobacco directive could have on smoking cessation in the UK. 
Speaking during the Queen’s speech debate on Health, Anne raised the contentious decision by the EU to include vaping in the tobacco directive. Mrs Main warned that ‘improvements [in smoking cessation across the UK] might start to tail off, now that the EU tobacco directive includes vaping’. 
Anne said that the current directive makes it, ‘more and more difficult for people to take up vaping and get themselves off cigarettes’.  
An expert independent evidence review published by Public Health England (PHE) in 2015 concluded that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking. PHE’s best estimate was that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking.  They also found that nearly half the population did not realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking and that there was no evidence that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers. 
Speaking after the debate, the St Albans MP added, ‘the current lack of support for a product that is 95% safer than regular cigarettes is crazy. Vaping has made it much easier for people to quit smoking, with around 2 million people in the UK successfully using vaping to get off regular tobacco. 
‘Vaping is much safer than smoking, yet these regulations could have a perverse effect.  We are not doing nearly enough to support and encourage a practical science-led solution. If we continue with the regulations in their current form then we are at serious risk of reversing the good progress we’ve made on smoking cessation.   
‘Once we’ve left the EU, there will be scope for government to think again, and make the changes that we know are already working.’ 


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