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Smoking

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 18th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the effect on peoples health of (a) vaping and (b) smoking.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the use of vape products to help people stop smoking.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to evidence from Public Health England that the risks to health associated with the use of vape products are significantly less than for smoking, what steps he is taking to permit vape products to be used indoors.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department provides support to local stop smoking services that want to promote vaping.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will take steps to make smokers aware of the relative public health benefits of vaping instead of smoking.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which (a) Department and (b) agency has responsibility for the provision of information on vaping products to smokers.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage smokers to take up vaping as a method of quitting smoking.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government has consistently highlighted that quitting smoking and nicotine use completely is the best way to improve health. E-cigarettes are not risk free. However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco, and can help smokers to quit, particularly when combined with stop smoking services. In the Tobacco Control Plan for England published in July 2017, the Government committed Public Health England (PHE) to updating its evidence report on e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery systems annually until the end of the Parliament in 2022. PHE’s latest report was published on 6 February 2018 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/684963/Evidence_review_of_e-cigarettes_and_heated_tobacco_products_2018.pdf

PHE’s evidence review argues that e-cigarette use, alone or in combination with licensed medication and behavioural support from a stop smoking service, appears to be helpful in the short term, and that e-cigarettes have contributed to tens of thousands of additional quitters from smoking in England.

The PHE evidence review concluded that “to date there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders”. PHE has produced guidance for organisations on developing appropriate vaping policies for public places and workplaces. Such policies should be based on the evidence and support smokers to quit while managing any identified risks.

If local stop smoking services wish to discuss vaping as a tool to stop smoking they are able to do so. Both PHE and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training have provided advice to support this.

PHE has committed to include messages about the relative safety of e-cigarettes within quit smoking campaigns such as during the annual Stoptober campaign.

The United Kingdom Government transposed the EU Tobacco Products Directive into UK legislation through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. This legislation covers e-cigarettes and vaping liquids and requires producers who supply or intend to supply electronic cigarettes or refill containers to notify the Secretary of State in accordance with the regulations. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is the competent authority for the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in the UK. A list of products that have been notified to the MHRA is available on gov.uk.

The Tobacco Control Plan for England, published in July 2017, committed the Government to seek to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products. PHE provides advice on quitting smoking and has highlighted the potential role of e-cigarettes in doing so. PHE’s latest Health Matters blog ‘Stop Smoking: What Works?’ provides advice to smokers on different options to help them quit, including e-cigarettes as well as nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medicines. This is available at the following link:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/category/health-matters/

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