From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 6 March 2024
Date March 6, 2024 12:41 PM
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** 6 March 2024

** UK

** Northern Ireland could be part of smoking ban bill (#3)

** British American Tobacco chief embraces new UK vape tax (#1)

** Opinion: To stop teenagers vaping they need to see it as cringe, not cool (#2)

** Liverpool shops shut down after illegal vapes seized (#4)

** UK

** Northern Ireland could be part of smoking ban bill

Northern Ireland could be included in a Westminster bill which aims to phase out the sale of cigarettes.

The bill would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 - when they turn 18.

The move, backed by the health minister, is subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
More than 2,000 people die from smoking related illnesses in Northern Ireland every year.
Treating these conditions costs the NHS in Northern Ireland more than £200m, according to the Department of Health.

Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland Prof Sir Michael McBride said both the human and financial costs are "simply unacceptable".

"Smoking is a life-limiting addiction. No other consumer product kills up to two thirds of its users," he said.

"These new measures will help protect people from ever starting to smoke."

Source: BBC News, 5 February 2024

Read Here ([link removed])

** British American Tobacco chief embraces new UK vape tax

The chief executive of British American Tobacco has endorsed the UK’s plans for a vaping tax, claiming the cigarette maker has learned to “love regulation”.

Asked if he endorsed a vaping duty, BAT chief executive Tadeu Marroco told the Financial Times: “I think that could be a good idea, I think that we need more regulation”. Rival cigarette maker Imperial Brands has also endorsed a vape tax.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to unveil a new duty targeting vapes, which are already subject to value added tax, in his Spring Budget on Wednesday. The move is an effort to make the devices less affordable for young people following a recent spike in underage uptake. The new rate of tax will vary according to the nicotine content of e-cigarettes, according to proposals seen by the Financial Times.

Any increase in tobacco duty will be higher for cigarettes than for vapes to ensure that the 4.7mn British adults who vape are not incentivised to return to smoking, according to a Treasury official.
A vaping tax would allow the government to exercise “better control” of the industry, said Marroco, who claimed that illegal products comprised up to a third of the UK vaping sector and are likely stealing market share from BAT.

BAT’s Vuse vaping product has faced stiff competition from Chinese-owned brands Elf Bar and Lost Mary in drawing UK vapers.

Dozens of US states and several European Union countries including Belgium and Portugal have already introduced duties on e-cigarettes. The European Commission has previously proposed an EU-wide vaping tax but its implementation has been delayed.

According to the proposals, the chancellor will announce a three-tiered vape tax aimed at reducing the affordability of vapes for underage users — it is illegal to sell vapes to anyone under the age of 18.

The tax is unlikely to be introduced before October 2026, allowing time for a consultation on the policy to be carried out.

Non-nicotine vape liquid will be taxed at £1 per 10ml, according to the draft plans. Liquids with the equivalent nicotine content of one cigarette or less will face a tax rate of £2 per 10ml, while vape fluid with more than a cigarette taxed at £3 per 10ml.

Vaping products are already subject to a 20 per cent VAT tax rate, while pharmaceutical products designed to stop people from smoking face a lower VAT rate of just 5 per cent.

The chancellor is also expected to raise cigarette duty for the second time in half a year, according to people familiar with the plans.

A Treasury spokesperson declined to comment.

The Financial Times, 6 February 2024

Read Here ([link removed])

** Opinion: To stop teenagers vaping they need to see it as cringe, not cool

Emily Moorlock, senior lecturer in marketing at Sheffield Hallam University, discusses the marketing issues that she thinks have helped to increase youth vaping.

Moorlock describes the government’s recent decision to ban disposable vapes, as a way of reducing youth vaping rates, is a “good start” but writes that more needs to be done to break the connection between vaping and social approval amongst young people.

One suggestion is a public health campaign aimed at young people who vape which seeks to make vaping "seem cringe, not cool". Moorlock says this might be needed to counterbalance public health campaigns which have focussed on vaping as a safe alternative to adult smokers, which may have led young people to perceive that vaping is not harmful for them.

Another way that Moorlock suggests targeting youth vaping trends is via social media, where the presence of vaping content is likely to have contributed to a social pressure or, at least, social acceptability of vaping.

How vaping is presented by social media influencers and across film and other media platforms has the ability to set trends and affect social norms. Therefore, Moorlock suggests that there is a need for stronger regulation of vaping on social media platforms, such as monitoring of popular hashtags.

A good example of this, according to Moorlock, is TikTok showing a ‘be informed and aware’ banner with a link to more information on substance support when anyone searches for vaping content.

Moorlock also advocates for open conversations with young people about how social media algorithms work to push certain content to them, and drive them towards consumption of target products.

Moorlock also recognises the price increase as having the potential to have a positive effect as young people are more price sensitive than adults. But Moorlock warns that regulations should be implemented thoughtfully to prevent vapes become a status symbol among young people, as making vapes difficult to acquire could lead to young people with vapes gaining “kudos” amongst peers.

Source: The Conversation, 5 March 2024

See also:ASH Factsheet: Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain ([link removed]) and ASH Addressing common myths about vaping: Putting the evidence in context ([link removed])

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** Liverpool shops shut down after illegal vapes seized

Eight shops have been shut down and thousands of illegal vapes have seized as part of a city-wide crackdown.

Vapes containing illegal amounts of nicotine were among items confiscated by Liverpool City Council.

The authority said shops selling illegal products faced fines and three-month closure orders.
Councillor Harry Doyle said it was "fantastic" to see the illegal products being removed from the streets.

"In many cases, these vapes have been designed with young people in mind, and there are clear health risks to these products given their illicit nature," the cabinet member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture said.

The council said it was using legislation first used during the Covid-19 pandemic to close businesses engaging in anti-social behaviour, as part of a zero-tolerance approach against retailers who sold dangerous vapes.

Eight retailers had been shut down since October 2023 for selling health-damaging vapes, often to young people who were under age.

A Liverpool City Council representative said the new approach had led to thousands of illicit vapes being taken off the streets, with over 1,200 being seized from one business alone, and shops found to be selling illegal products were issued with fines and three-month closure orders.

Professor Matthew Ashton, Liverpool's Director of Public Health, said: "The risks that illicit vapes pose to health is clear, with many of them including ingredients that are unregulated.

"Legal vapes continue to be the most popular and effective smoking aid used by smokers trying to quit. While many choose to use them, it is important for people to be mindful of where they buy their vapes to ensure they meet the appropriate requirements.”

"Our guidance continues to be that if you smoke, vaping is safer. If you don't smoke - don't vape."

Source: BBC News, 5 February 2024

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