Review of UK Tobacco Law Published

UK Tobacco Law Reviewed

The UK Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) has published its long-awaited post-implementation review of the UK’s tobacco legislation, following the public consultation on the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR).

What was Suggested at the Review?

The public consultation received over 5,000 responses across a range of stakeholders. The main suggestions that were apparent within the public consultation included changes to the current vaping product regulations such as increases to the tank size, refill bottles and an increase in the nicotine strength that is permitted. It was also noted that the majority agreed that advertising restrictions should be relaxed.

Perhaps more interestingly, despite 75% of all responses indicated that the regulations either encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes (40%) or at least do not dissuade smokers from doing so (35%). It was commercial businesses that largely felt this wasn’t the case, with 31% saying that current regulations discourage smokers from quitting.

Again, this is possibly down to the strict advertisement regulations that mean e-cigarette businesses cannot promote the fact that vaping has been found to be safer than smoking by recognised public bodies including Public Health England since as far back as 2015.

Public Opinion Shares a Common Theme on Tobacco Product Regulation

With the public consultation giving stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the current regulations, responses seemed to vary but a common theme was certainly apparent. As previously mentioned, businesses are pushing for a change in the regulations such as tank size etc. however many others are calling for non-nicotine products to be captured under similar rules to improve product safety.

Nicotine Pouch Regulation

Nicotine Pouches (Tobacco Free) were also commented on, with responses highlighting that these product types should be regulated under a framework such as those for tobacco and related products, rather than under The General Product Safety Regulations 2005. The report stated that the government are considering this and have asked the Committee on Toxicity to consider the toxicological risks from the tobacco-free pouches during its 2021/2022 work programme.

The review clearly demonstrates that vaping has played a positive part in helping people quit smoking. The government set itself a target of reducing the number of UK smokers to just 5% in the next eight years, with the TRPR and highly anticipated tobacco control plan in play, then this ambition will hopefully become a reality. With the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) view that the TRPR regulations have met their original objectives, and they could not be better achieved through alternative regulatory measures, no substantial change to the vaping framework can be expected.

Click here for the full post-implementation review.


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