UK Vaping Laws – What You Need To Know

Vaping is undoubtedly growing in popularity in the UK and beyond – with 2.7 million vapers in England alone – as it helps more and more people quit smoking & switch e cig. Public Health England says vaping is far less harmful to your health than smoking and is a great tool to help smokers kick the habit. This blog takes a quick look at the UK vaping  laws and regulations surrounding vaping in the UK for both sellers and users.

What Are The UK’s Laws On Vaping?

Let’s start with e-cigarette laws UK. The UK has one of the most regulated e-cigarette markets globally, which is why other countries often look to us as an example of how it’s done and done well.

In the UK, e-cigarettes must meet the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations minimum standards for the safety and quality of e-cigarettes and e-liquid containers, such as:-

  • The maximum nicotine strength of liquids is 20mg/ml. Bottles can’t hold over 10ml of liquid and must be childproof and tamper-evident
  • Atomizers (also known as tanks) can’t have the capacity of more than 2ml of e-liquid, and certain additives in vape liquids and flavourings are banned, e.g., caffeine, taurine, and colorings.
  • The maximum nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container is 10ml.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) controls the registration of e-cigarettes and e-liquids in the UK. It must be notified of all e-cigarettes and e-liquid UK products before they go on sale, and there is also a 6-month grace period before any submitted item can be sold.

Therefore, provided you buy from a legitimate retailer, you and anyone else can purchase and use vape starter kit and e-liquids, knowing that they have been verified as safe and legal.

UK age restrictions on e-cig sales

As with smoking, the minimum age for vapers is a hot issue. Users must be 18 or over to buy and use e-cigarettes or e-liquids. The e cig laws apply whether you buy from a shop or online.

The regulations are evident on the rules for marketing e-cigs to children, i.e., DON’T. This includes not selling e-liquid flavours that appeal to kids. It’s also illegal for vape adverts to have models who appear to be under the age of 25. That doesn’t always mean illegal stuff can’t be found.

Only this month, Sussex Trading Standards officers seized 141 e-cigarette kits from two stores. They contained more than twice the legal limit of nicotine and included products containing flavours like “icy cola,” “orange soda,” and “lush ice.”

You have to prove you’re old enough to buy a  vape starter kit and there are significant repercussions for the seller if they’re found to be selling e-cigs to under 18s. Likewise, an adult can’t buy it for a minor. There are harsh penalties for those who break the law. The seller could get a criminal record and a fine, plus a fine for the company.

As an added safeguard, vape shops often use the Challenge 25 or 21 rule where ID will be asked for before a sale, like for cigarettes and alcohol. So if you’re lucky enough to look young for your age, don’t be offended if you’re asked for proof.

Although vaping is proven to be safer than smoking, e-liquids can still contain nicotine, so precautions must be taken to ensure that buyers and users are of adult age.

Where am I allowed to vape?

There is currently no official regional or national legislation regarding e-cigarettes. Vaping outdoors, much like smoking cigarettes, is generally permitted in public places like streets and parks.

The UK laws on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces don’t apply to vaping, but organizations can make their own rules, and they often do, since it’s up to the property owners to decide on their policies. For example, many airlines, train, and bus companies don’t allow vaping, nor do most pubs, clubs, and restaurants.*

The simple rule is that it’s OK to vape anywhere to smoke. Just be considerate of others around you and if you’re not sure, ask a staff member. Don’t leave yourself open to a fine.

*Policies are evolving, so keep an eye out for updates.

Despite all the rules, vaping is still the safer alternative to smoking.

Wherever there’s money to be made, there will inevitably be fakes and rip-offs. And since vaping is becoming increasingly popular, it’s a god-sent opportunity for fraudsters. That’s why, while acknowledging that vaping makes it easier for smokers to cut down on tobacco use or quit altogether, the UK’s governing bodies need to impose strict regulations and guidelines to prevent anyone from coming to harm.

Vaping is undoubtedly kinder to your lungs and wallet. So if you or anyone you know who wants to quit smoking or reduce reliance on cigarettes, head to the NVee stop smoking help page.

Or, if you have any questions about vaping, e-liquids, or anything else e-cig related, you can contact us on 0800 731 1178, and we’ll be happy to help. Or you can fill in our contact form or chat with us online via the website.

Vape vending machines coming to UK grocery stores in trial

Age verification tech business 1account has launched a vape vending machine, which will appear in grocery stores this spring.

The first of the machines has been installed in the Leicester branch of specialist vape retailer Ecigwizard as part of a 12-month trial, which will also see them appear at “a household name grocery retailer” the company said.

To buy products from the machine, vapers download the 1account app, upload a form of ID to prove their age and who they are, and take a selfie. Their information is cross-referenced and verified with multiple data points including mobile phone records.

At the vending machine, the customer selects the product they want before opening the app and scanning a QR code on the machine to unlock it. They then make a card payment and their product is dispensed.

Source: 1account  1account founder and CEO Ben Keirle with the vending machine
Source: 1account
1account founder and CEO Ben Keirle with the vending machine

“The use of vending machines for the sale of consumable products has grown significantly in recent years as retailers better understand the demands of modern consumers,” Ben Keirle, founder and CEO of 1account, told The Grocer. “This pilot with Ecigwizard, and future trial partners, aims to evaluate if the sale of age-restricted goods can form part of the continued expansion of this new generation of ‘smart’ vending machines, which ensure children are not able to access age restricted products”.

The trial was approved by Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards and covers high street retail, pubs and NHS locations. In the initial trial, 1account software has been integrated into machines built by London-based vending manufacturer Aeguana. The company’s ambition is to roll out its digital ID technology in shops selling age restricted products including alcohol, knives and medications, as well as in establishments where it is illegal for under-18s to be present, such as pubs, nightclubs and casinos.

The company is also participating in the Home Office sandbox test in which TescoAsdaMorrisonsAldi and Co-op are also taking part, using tech to approve sales of alcohol.

The launch of the vending machine comes a decade after the sale of cigarettes from vending machines was banned in the UK, in a move to curtail underage purchases.

“Cigarette vending machines are often unsupervised, making it easy for children to purchase cigarettes from them,” then health secretary Andrew Lansley said at the time.

Before the ban it was estimated that 35 million cigarettes were being sold illegally through vending machines to children every year.

“Today, adult customers have greater than ever choice where they buy their vape products, including specialist vape retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, online and now vending machines,” Kierle said.

“This new generation of machines, incorporating our leading-edge digital ID technology, provides adults with greater access to vape products, which the government states are at least 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes, while at the same time safeguarding against under 18s getting their hands on vape devices and e-liquids,” he added.

Ahead of the trial, 1account said it carried out an “extensive consultation process to gauge demand and support” for the concept, including with MPs, smoking cessation and vaping bodies and academics.

“The advent of the vape vending machine is another example of the innovative spirit within the sector, which will support more smokers in making a successful transition from conventional cigarettes to considerably less harmful vape products and at the same time boosting the retail economy,” said John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association.

“Today there are some 2.4 million former adult smokers as a result of completely switching over to vaping and there is relatively low take-up among under 18-year-olds,” Dunne added. “The vending machine, with its built-in digital ID technology, will help to ensure both trends continue.”

Vaping Clinic offers service to help Lanarkshire smokers quit for good

A vaping retailer with shops across Lanarkshire has launched a valuable new service to help people quit smoking for good.

The VPZ Vape Clinic service is now available across the company’s entire retail estate, offering those smokers looking to transform their health and wellbeing in the new year a dedicated, one-to-one consultation with vaping specialists to help them take their first step in their stop smoking journey.

The Vape Clinic was introduced to meet the growing demand for stop smoking services as access to local stop smoking services and vaping retailers massively reduced during pandemic lockdowns, leaving thousands of smokers without any services to help them quit.

With around 78,000 people in the UK dying from smoking year on year, and with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses, the Vape Clinic has been designed to support the nation’s smokers to quit for good and give them the opportunity to start transforming their health in 2022.

VPZ’s confidence in the success of the Vape Clinic service is backed by its customer promise to provide a money back guarantee for hardware purchased and any unopened boxes of e-liquids and coils if customers are unable to make the switch to vaping entirely.

The initiative is available nationwide across VPZ’s UK store footprint, further enhancing the level of customer service and expert advice to its customer base.

Doug Mutter, director of VPZ, told Lanarkshire Live : “As the UK’s leading vaping specialist, we are spearheading the fight against the nation’s number one killer –smoking.

“We are proud to have our Vape Clinic service accessible across our retail estate to give smokers the support they need to quit and help the country regain its momentum toward becoming a smoke free nation by 2030.

“Smoking statistics have unfortunately continued to rise as the pandemic has triggered an increase in smoking rates and the public health problem has been compounded by funding cuts for NHS stop smoking services and local support groups.”

Doug added: “Our Vape Clinic concept is an investment to fill the void left by the loss of local NHS stop smoking services.

“We are so confident in the success of our new service that we are offering our customers a money back guarantee if they are unable to make the switch entirely.”

A report from the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group backs vaping as an effective treatment for tobacco dependency and recommends that it should be included and encouraged in all treatment pathways.

It also found the long-term impact of vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Doug said: “Our approach is different and is proven to help quit smoking time and time again.

“We specialise in listening to each individual customer’s needs, educating them, providing knowledge, support and advice and understanding that each customer is unique and needs a tailored approach to successfully quit.”

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in world first

  • Medical regulator to work with manufacturers to assess safety and effectiveness of products
  • Move supports government ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030 and to reduce stark health disparities in smoking rates

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products, as Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the latest step forward in the licensing process for manufacturers.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated guidance that paves the way for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed for tobacco smokers who wish to quit smoking.

Manufacturers can approach the MHRA to submit their products to go through the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available on the health service.

This could mean England becomes the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product.

If a product receives MHRA approval, clinicians could then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it would be appropriate to prescribe an e-cigarette to NHS patients to help them quit smoking. It remains the case that non-smokers and children are strongly advised against using e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not risk free, but expert reviews from the UK and US have been clear that the regulated e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. A medicinally licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks.

Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and while rates are at record low levels in the UK, there are still around 6.1 million smokers in England. There are also stark differences in rates across the country, with smoking rates in Blackpool (23.4%) and Kingston upon Hull (22.2%) poles apart from rates in wealthier areas such as Richmond upon Thames (8%).

E-cigarettes were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020. E-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in supporting those trying to quit, with 27.2% of smokers using them compared with 18.2% using nicotine replacement therapy products such as patches and gum.

Some of the highest success rates of those trying to quit smoking are among people using an e-cigarette to kick their addiction alongside local Stop Smoking services, with up to 68 % successfully quitting in 2020 -2021.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

This country continues to be a global leader on healthcare, whether it’s our COVID-19 vaccine rollout saving lives or our innovative public health measures reducing people’s risk of serious illness.

Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.

Almost 64,000 people died from smoking in England in 2019 and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) is supporting efforts to level up public health and ensure communities across the country have equal health outcomes.

Reducing health disparities – including in smoking rates – and keeping people in better health for longer is good for the individual, families, society, the economy and NHS. To achieve this overall ambition, the OHID will work collaboratively at national, regional and local levels as well as with the NHS, academia, the third sector, scientists, researchers and industry.

The government will soon publish a new Tobacco Control Plan which will set out the roadmap for achieving a smoke-free England by 2030.

Notes to editors:

  • The NHS can only prescribe e-cigarettes when NICE recommends them for use
  • Smoking death rates for 2019 in England can be found here.
  • Data on products used to support smokers trying to quit can be found here.
  • Success rates alongside local stop smoking services can be found here.
  • The international study on e-cigarette safety and effectiveness can be found here

Marlboro maker Philip Morris could stop selling cigarettes in UK

Tobacco giant Philip Morris has said it could stop selling cigarettes in the UK in 10 years’ time as it focuses on alternatives, such as heated tobacco.

The move would mean that the firm’s flagship Marlboro brand would disappear from British shops.

The firm also indicated it would welcome a government ban on cigarettes.

Health charity Ash said it was hard to take such claims seriously from the firm responsible for selling over a tenth of cigarettes globally.

“Philip Morris can see a world without cigarettes – the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone,” the company said in a statement.

Philip Morris eventually expects the government to ban smoking altogether and said that “strong regulation” was needed to “help solve the problem of cigarette smoking once and for all”.

The government has already pledged to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to tackle the causes of preventable ill health.

In comments first reported in the Mail on Sunday, Philip Morris International’s (PMI) chief executive, Jacek Olczak, told the newspaper: “I want to allow this company to leave smoking behind.”

He added: “I think in the UK, 10 years from now maximum, you can completely solve the problem of smoking.”

‘Fine words not the solution’

However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaigning health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said: “Philip Morris has claimed that it wants to see the end of smoking for years now, but how can such claims be taken seriously from a company which sells more than one in 10 cigarettes smoked worldwide?,”

She stressed that ending smoking by 2030 must be a priority for the government.

“Smoking is likely to have killed more people than Covid-19 last year in the UK,” she added.

​”Fine words from Philip Morris are not the solution – funding is needed for government-backed behaviour change campaigns to discourage smoking, and support to help smokers quit.”

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, also called for more efforts to persuade people not to smoke, but said the tobacco industry should be made to contribute to the cost.

She added: “We’ve heard these empty promises from the tobacco industry before and we’re concerned this move is part of an attempt by Big Tobacco to position itself as part of the solution to a smoke-free UK, all the while continuing to promote and sell lethal cigarettes here and globally.

“We know from our work supporting low and middle-income countries in the fight against tobacco industry interference, that Philip Morris’s actions globally don’t match up with their smoke-free world rhetoric.”


Philip Morris has made similar claims previously.

In 2016, Mr Olczak’s predecessor as chief executive, André Calantzopoulos, told the BBC that the firm could stop making conventional cigarettes.

And in 2018, in another BBC interview, Mr Calantzopoulos said Philip Morris wanted to phase out cigarettes as soon as possible.

Following Mr Olczak’s latest remarks, Dr Moira Gilchrist, the firm’s vice-president of strategic and scientific communications, told the BBC: “Quitting is the best option, but for those who don’t, science and technology has allowed companies like ours to create better alternatives to continued smoking.

She added that ​encouraging people to switch to alternatives, together with strong regulation, would help solve the problem of cigarette smoking “once and for all”.

“With the right measures in place, PMI can stop selling cigarettes in the UK in 10 years’ time.”

Smokers’ lobby group Forest reacted by saying that banning cigarettes was “a fool’s errand” that would not stop people smoking.

“It will simply drive the product into the hands of criminal gangs who will happily sell illicit and counterfeit cigarettes to anyone who wants them, including children,” said the group’s director, Simon Clark.

UK Health Agency Reaffirms the Power of Vaping to Help Smokers Quit

On June 25, the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new draft guidelines encouraging health care professionals to disseminate clear and up-to-date information for smokers who want to use vapes to quit cigarettes.

Developed with the help of Public Health England (PHE), the UK’s leading health agency, an expert committee advises that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are “more likely to result in people successfully stopping smoking” when combined with behavioral support; notes that vaping is “similarly effective” to short- and long-acting nicotine replacement therapy (NRT); acknowledges that e-cigarettes are “significantly less harmful than smoking” although long-term health effects remain unknown; and calls for the funding of further research. The guidance consolidates and updates eight previous guidelines on smoking and is out for consultation until early August.

“This should have a considerable impact on the level of confidence among health care professionals, some of whom have until now been uncertain or reluctant to support patients to switch from extremely harmful smoking to something significantly safer,” Louise Ross, the former manager of the Stop Smoking Service in Leicester and the current business development manager for a smoke-free app, told Filter.

Over the past few years, the UK has transformed into a model for tobacco harm reduction (THR), and activists have been hopeful that public health officials there will continue down that path, especially in a post-Brexit regulatory landscape. In one promising development there among many, a collection of UK universities recently launched a trial in which they’re providing free e-cigarettes to hundreds of homeless people, a population with a high smoking rate; the research will judge how effective vaping products are at assisting them in quitting cigarettes.

The NICE recommendations are not necessarily a surprise. Indeed, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019 found that vapes were not as effective for quitting as NRT, but much more effective—somewhat disappointingly for some activists, NICE does not go as far to declare vapes superior cessation tools. Still, the guidelines represent a victory for THR advocates. They can now be cited to health organizations and agencies that oppose vaping at all costs in favor of an abstinence-only approach to nicotine.

“We know that vaping is a really popular and effective way to stop smoking.”

Advocates are not particularly optimistic, however, that the guidance will stretch beyond the UK’s borders. As recent as May, ahead of World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) reasserted its anti-vaping stance, stating that the tobacco industry has “promoted e-cigarettes as cessation aids under the guises of contributing to global tobacco control” and that “switching from conventional tobacco products to e-cigarettes is not quitting.”

“The new draft guidelines recommending that UK physicians should promote safer nicotine vapes (‘e-cigarettes’) for adult smokers should be a wake up call for the World Health Organization,” Dr. Charles Gardner, the executive director of INNCO, a global nonprofit that supports the rights and well-being of adults who use safer nicotine, told Filter. “The WHO continues to believe that reducing harm is an evil Big Tobacco plot. NICE and PHE have no industry influence. They look at evidence. INNCO compliments them on their courageous stance against current tobacco control dogma.”

The UK strategy is a stark contrast to that in the United States—and in many other countries that follow the US example. Misinformation about the benefits of e-cigarettes for adult smokers still plagues much of the public conversation in the US. Many former smokers who switched to vaping have been persuaded that a string of “vaping-related” lung injuries reported in 2019 were related to vaping nicotine—not illicit, adulterated THC cartridges as was in fact the case. Many seem to be returning to cigarettes.

“This should all be part of a consistent message to people who smoke, encouraging them to give vaping a try,” Ross said of the NICE recommendations. “We know that vaping is a really popular and effective way to stop smoking.”

“Now,” she continued, “we have evidence from yet another credible source that we should all put our efforts into getting more people to try it.”


Photograph by harry_nl via Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0

Both INNCO and The Influence Foundation, which operates Filter, have received grants from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. More information about The Influence Foundation’s funding is available hereFilter’s Editorial Independence Policy applies. 

Harrogate vape shop sees record numbers looking to quit smoking

Upon re-opening, the firm’s Harrogate store on Beulah Street saw record sales in its ‘New to Vaping’ kits, representing its largest ever uptake.

The forced closure of vaping stores during lockdown has meant that smokers have not been able to access advice and products to help them stop smoking.

Now, VPZ is seeing record demand from smokers hoping to make the switch.

Doug Mutter, director of VPZ said that the reduction in NHS stop-smoking services, through Covid-19 and local authority cuts, had been devastating. Recent data from VPZ has shown that smoking rates and the amount of cigarettes smokers are consuming have both increased.

He added: “Post-lockdown we had expected to see a rise in smokers coming forward looking for help and guidance but the scale and demand here in Harrogate and across our store network has been huge.

“We recognise now more than ever the need for an enhanced level of service and support that our customers require following lockdown.”

Free e-cigarettes for smokers in A&E trial

Smokers attending emergency departments will be given free e-cigarettes and taught how to use them, in a trial designed to help people quit.

Patients will be offered a device, enough e-liquid supplies for a week, and referral to local smoking-cessation services, alongside medical advice.

Hospitals in Norfolk, London, Leicester and Edinburgh will participate.

E-cigarettes are not available on the NHS, other than in trials, but health experts say they can help people quit.

Growing evidence supports their use in smoking cessation, Public Health England says, with an estimated 50,000 smokers quitting a year in England with the help of vaping.

And NHS experts consider them less harmful than traditional traditional cigarettes.

However, this does not mean they are completely risk-free.

E-cigs or vapes let users inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke and do not burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide, unlike usual cigarettes.

During the trial, due to start in autumn, some smokers in emergency departments – whatever they are being treated for – will be given vaping starter packs and referred for continuing support.

But they will have to fund any additional vaping materials themselves.

Others will receive only leaflets with details of local smoking-cessation services.

And both groups will be asked if they still smoke one, three and six months later.

‘Attractive option’

Prof Caitlin Notley, who is helping lead the study, at the University of East Anglia, said recruiting people in emergency departments could help introduce the idea of attempting to quit while using e-cigarettes to a group of people who had never considered it.

“Electronic cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking because they are hand-held and generate a smoke-like vapour when used,” she said

“They can be an attractive option for helping people switch from smoking, even if they have tried and failed in the past.”

Prof John Newton, at Public Health England, said smoking killed almost 75,000 people in England in 2019.

“The best thing that a smoker can do is to stop smoking completely and the evidence shows that vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available, helping around 50,000 smokers quit a year,” he said.

“Thousands more could have quit except for unfounded safety fears about e-cigarettes.”

E-cigarettes may become one of the most effective smoking cessation tools

On March 10, a new study published by King’s College London, UK emphasized that daily use of e-cigarettes has “significant results” in helping to quit smoking. At the same time, the study compared other smoking cessation methods including nicotine replacement therapy or medication. This research provides support for the effectiveness of e-cigarettes to help quit smoking.

Although the number of smokers in the UK has been declining in recent years, smoking is still the leading cause of premature death and disease-nearly 75,000 people in the UK lost their lives in 2019. In a study funded by Cancer Research UK (Cancer Research UK), researchers at King’s College London analyzed online survey data from more than 1,155 people, including smokers and former smokers who quit smoking less than a year before completing the survey , And e-cigarette users. A total of five rounds of data were collected from 2012 to 2017. The researchers analyzed the smokers who had smoked for at least one month during the follow-up period and those who had quit smoking for at least one month between the first survey and the follow-up survey to explore the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping to quit smoking.

This study found that smokers who use e-cigarettes every day are more than five times more likely to quit smoking than those who do not use smoking cessation aids at all. Daily use of e-cigarettes is also more effective than other evidence-based smoking cessation methods-including nicotine replacement therapy, medications (such as bupropion or varenicline or any combination of these auxiliary drugs). Compared with not using auxiliary tools at all, these methods have nothing to do with smoking cessation during the follow-up period.

Research results show that users who use e-cigarettes every day are more likely to quit smoking than those who do not use smoking cessation aids at all, indicating that e-cigarettes are a more effective way to quit smoking than nicotine replacement therapy and prescription drug treatment. Dr. Leonie Brose, Research Associate Professor of the National Addiction Centre at King’s College London, said: “Although the World Health Organization (WHO) is cautious about e-cigarettes, our research shows that e-cigarettes are still one of the most effective smoking cessation tools currently available. “

UK Vapers May Face New Threats, as Public Health England is to be Dissolved


As the PHE was reportedly unable to deal with the Covid-19 crises effectively due to under-funding, UK ministers have decided to merge it with the NHS and distribute its responsibilities amongst other entities. According to The Sunday Telegraph, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to announce that a new Institute for Health Protection will become “effective” as of this month.

The PHE has been instrumental in the promotion of tobacco harm reduction via the use of e-cigarettes across the UK.

The chief executive of NHS Providers representing NHS trusts Chris Hopson, said that “years of under-funding” for PHE and more generally public health, have left the country unprepared to deal with a pandemic.

He added that unlike other health bodies such as NHS England, the PHE is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care. “This gives ministers direct control of its activities,” he explained. “So whilst it might be convenient to seek to blame PHE’s leadership team, it is important that the Government reflect on its responsibilities as well.”

With regards to smoking cessation, the PHE has been instrumental in the promotion of tobacco harm reduction via the use of e-cigarettes. Given that it is currently unknown who will be taking over this responsibility, the way that vaping will be promoted from now on is yet to be seen.

The PHE’s 6th independent e-cigarette report

Last April, the PHE was commended by tobacco harm reduction experts for its latest review calling for an end on publishing misinformation about vaping. “Vaping in England: 2020 Evidence Update Summary” was the PHE’s sixth (and probably last) independent e-cigarette report, commissioned by researchers at King’s College London.

It highlighted that despite the alarmist media headlines and unfounded fears about vaping, more former smokers have made the switch from cigarettes to vaping products and that youth uptake remains relatively low. The report added that “false fears” about vaping are preventing many smokers from quitting by switching to vaping – something that the PHE itself has long endorsed.

On the side of tobacco harm reduction

Moreover, when last year’s reports from the US had erroneously started linking EVALI with nicotine vaping, the PHE had reassured e-cig users in the UK that the agency’s stance on vaping remained unchanged.

“Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged – vaping isn’t completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco. There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping,” said the PHE on Twitter art the time.

UK: PHE to Investigate ‘New Dual’ Range Replacing Menthol Tobacco


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