Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is an opportunity to introduce new UK vaping laws which would help save lives, the House of Lords has heard.
In a wide-ranging two hour debate on vaping (on July 4) the Lords was told that the TPD as it stands will undoubtedly cost lives.
Lord Callanan said the controversial upper limit of nicotine imposed by the TPD had the potential to cost more than 100,000 lives a year around the EU by discouraging heavy smokers to try vaping instead.
The debate had originally sought to overturn the UK’s Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, the legislation which gives effect to the TPD in the UK.
However, the motion was withdrawn before members could vote on it after it was revealed that there was not the necessary cross-party support for the Regulations to be overturned.
Lord Callanan, who was an MEP from 1999 to 2014, said that the recent Brexit vote now gave Parliament the opportunity to introduce new regulations which made more sense and helped save lives.
He said: “Now that we are going to leave the EU, we have the opportunity to make regulations that will be evidence-based and to create a climate in which smokers can quit for safer products.
“We need to remove the ridiculous restrictions on product choice and the advertising of e-cigarettes and other reduced-harm products, such as heat-not-burn products. To this end, I welcome the Treasury’s consultation on the taxation of heated products later this year.”
Lord Callanan said: “We need serious action and a clear plan to put into production medicinal supplies of the stronger e-liquid used by a quarter of a million vapers. It would be unconscionable if the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) was to fail on this once again. The need is simple: several suppliers of base e-liquid should be approved by the MHRA before Christmas.”
The conservative peer said the new law ran counter to advice from the Royal College of Physicians to promote vaping and was so severe that it could force vapers back to smoking.
The Conservative peer said: “E-cigarettes are by far the most popular gateway out of tobacco for our nation’s 9 million smokers.
“Bizarrely, while the department is doing its best to restrict sales of one tobacco substitute, which costs taxpayers nothing, we are heavily subsidising nicotine-containing gum and patches, because they are given out on prescription.
“The difference, of course, is that these products are made by the big pharmaceutical companies, which appear to have the Department of Health as a sort of wholly owned subsidiary.“
“These companies stand to lose large amounts of money as sales of their nicotine substitutes have collapsed with the advent of e-cigarettes. The pharmaceutical industry uses its massive spending power to manipulate the harm reduction debate.”
Lord Prior of Brampton, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Department of Health, supported the regulations saying that most people had heard of e-cigarettes already and adding that only nine per cent of vapers used liquids stronger than 18mg/ml.
He said: “I feel that these regulations are proportionate. They do not go over the top, are entirely sensible and are backed by the RCP and all the major charities in this area.”