Our Response to Scottish Government Proposals
Posted on 11 November 2015 by Emma Logan.
Scottish Ministers have this week called for national guidance on the risks and benefits of using e-cigarettes, at the same time as backing new restrictions on their sale. The Health Committee at Holyrood has also put their backing behind a legally enforceable ban on smoking in certain areas of hospital grounds.
The Committee had been examining future Scottish legislation, the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Bill which, if passed, will bring into force a ban on sales to minors, along with restrictions on advertising. Some expert witnesses, however, have given evidence, stating that the perception of e-cigarettes as being harmful had been ‘exaggerated’.
Members of the Committee have also appealed to the Scottish Government to consider whether the NHS should issue guidance on the benefits and risks of using e-cigs in order to quit smoking.
As a Scottish based company, we've always welcome proportional regulation based on scientific data and evidence. In fact, we pride ourselves on adhering to all existing regulations and place a priority on product quality, performance and safety. We believe that anything which helps to improve public health MUST be seen in a positive light. That being said, it is vital that where regulation actually hinders the user’s ability to switch from smoking, it must be revisited. The recent Welsh ban on vaping in public spaces is a prime example.
While it is true that many minors already also smoke, with 207,000 UK children starting smoking each year according to figures published by ASH in July 2015, there do have to be controls in place in order to ensure that minors aren't easily able to purchase e-cigs. Teenagers will always seek to experiment, but vaping, like smoking, should be off limits to those under the age of 18. It’s not cool, it’s not trendy, it’s a choice which people make in order to help them switch from smoking tobacco.
When it comes to advertising, we agree that the tone and creative content of ads should be such that they only appeal to existing smokers, and not in order to acquire non-smokers. It is important, however, that smokers know that e-cigarettes are available, so sensible limits on advertising is to be encouraged.