We recently published a blog looking at the responses from the New Nicotine Alliance and World Vapers Alliance who stood firmly against the proposals put forward by Rishi Sunak regarding raising the legal smoking age as well as potentially banning the supply and sale of Disposable Vapes and the restriction of vape flavours also.
Following up on that in our series, we’re going to take a look at the response from the Chair of the IBVTA Marcus Saxton who has taken a more positive and welcoming approach to these proposals and how they could actually help the future of the vaping industry.
What Has Been Proposed?
Rishi Sunak announced his government’s plans during a conference at the start of October (2023) which heavily focused on stopping the start of a new generation of smokers from being created.
As well as this, Rishi Sunak also unveiled potential regulations being introduced to the vaping industry in a bid to crack down on the growing youth vaping numbers.
And finally set out the plans they intend on launching to crack down on the amount of illicit vaping products entering into the UK and being sold at retail outlets to underage users.
The Problem Illicit Tobacco & Vape Sales Are Causing
Despite the efforts made by Border Control and also local Trading Standards Agencies, there is still a large amount of illicit tobacco products entering into the country illegally and being sold on the “black market” at heavily discounted prices compared to the RRP if bought from a shop.
Statistics show that Tobacco smuggling costs over £2.8 BILLION in lost tax and duty revenue every single year. This is money lost that can be put towards crucial resources for public service rather than in the pockets of criminal bootleggers.
Recently, vape products have also started filtering through in vast quantities on the black market and entering onto the high streets where they are sold freely with little to no consequences should they be caught.
The most notable products coming through are Disposable Vapes, which are already at the forefront for the reasons as to why the youth vaping numbers are high in England.
Results from a survey from Action on Smoking And Health show that Disposable Vapes are the most commonly used device amongst 11-17 year olds.
On top of this, teens surveyed admit that they get their Disposables from a shop which is a clear indication that something is very awry as they are not legally allowed to purchase them due to the law being 18 years or older.
What Has Been Suggested?
“A strong approach to enforcement”
That is what has been suggested needs to happen from the Government in a bid to crack down on the above problems.
The government are working hard to create a smokefree future in England and will likely be working even harder to ensure their new hopes of stopping the start of a new generation of smokers from forming.
But all of these efforts are being severely undermined by black market activity and sales at such high volumes.
This is why the government now want to step things up and take control of this issue once and for all with the following proposals being put forward for the future:
- Providing £30 million additional funding per year (from April 2024) to support enforcement agencies such as trading standards, Border Force and HMRC to implement and enforce the law (including enforcement of underage sales) and tackle illicit trade.
- Introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (fixed penalty notices) to enforce age of sale legislation on tobacco products, as well as vapes.
- Enhancing online age verification to stop underage sales of tobacco products and vapes online.
A Welcome Approach For Consultation from IBVTA Chair
As mentioned at the top of this article, there have been several responses to Rishi Sunak’s announcements with some opposing to the suggestions while on the other hand there have been some more welcoming approaches.
Marcus Saxton, Chair of the Independent British Vape Trade Association commented on the suggestions made by Rishi Sunak, heavily focusing on the increase of enforcement against illicit sales in the UK as well as referencing back to their own work they have down with law enforcement agents regarding this matter.
“We stand ready to work with the government on these issues and welcome the opening of this consultation which gives industry, as well as consumers and others, the chance to have their say.
Getting the policy right here is key to building a safe and sustainable industry that can continue to support smoking cessation across the UK.
IBVTA members work daily with law enforcement to stop underage sales, and with public health teams in local authorities and NHS Trusts to deliver vaping as a tool for smoking cessation.
We will carefully consider our response to this consultation, with a focus on ensuring policy outcomes strike the right balance.”
Marcus also makes a comment on the potential risk of things being taken “too far” and vaping products being heavily regulated and potentially removed from sale hindering current adult vapers.
“The risk is that policy goes too far and takes away a vital smoking cessation product when simply enforcing existing rules might be just as impactful.”
This has been the primary concern of the other groups who have not been so welcoming to these proposals being introduced.
Whether you are for or against these proposals, this is exactly what the consultation period is for so that you can express your views and have you say as every response counts towards the bigger picture and may guide which direction the Government eventually takes.
You can read the proposals in detail on the following link as well as being able to submit your response to them as well as part of the consultation period.