IBTVA Chairman Calls For Balance
Vapekit is a proud member of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA). Recently, at the E-Cigarette Summit, an event where experts discuss matters related to vaping and tobacco harm reduction, IBVTA Chairman Marcus Saxton spoke about the need to have balanced regulation to bring about intended consequences.
Marcus began by explaining what the IBVTA is all about: “Founded in 2016, and through the provision of credible knowledge and guidance, the IBVTA supports the independent vape trade and promotes constructive interaction between the industry, the science community, vapers, policy makers and the general public.”
He was keen to discuss how everyone can work together to “find the sweet spot”, in other words to achieve sensible evidence-based regulation that will maximise the health benefits for the nation.
As Chairman, Marcus is very proud of the role the IBVTA has played in tobacco control and vape regulation in the United Kingdom. As someone who actually works in the ecig industry, Marcus is very aware of the potential for unintended consequences to arise from decisions.
Businesses are constantly considering how they approach advertising, packaging, shortfills, and tank size in how they can result in negative results – particularly making products appeal to young people under the age of legal purchase.
“Our collective goal is and must be all about harm reduction. It’s very easy and emotive to move towards prohibition, but actually the key is finding the sweet spot in some of these important areas if we are going to maintain the trajectory and positive momentum that we’ve currently got,” he said.
On flavoured e-liquids, Marcus addressed whether flavours attract children to take up vaping. He argued that flavours play a “critical role” within a mix of reasons why vaping works for smokers. It complements the whole ecig package that mimics smoking, delivering nicotine efficiently, and provides a rewarding experience for the consumer to help them remain smoke-free.
He pointed to data from retail sales that shows consumer demand is driving the need to provide flavoured eliquids: 65% of sales are non-tobacco/menthol juice products. Then he mentioned the ASH/Cancer Research survey from 2021 that showed consumers intend to source or make their own flavoured e-liquids were they to be banned, regardless of the legality.
When it comes to claims that the marketing and packaging of products entices young people to take up vaping, Marcus noted:
- 2020 saw a decline of 12% in e-cigarette use
- Only 0.5% of 11-18 year olds who have never smoked are vaping – a tiny number
“Let’s not try to fix something that isn’t broken,” he continued. “The evidence points to we’re [the independent vape sector] a really good, well controlled environment.”
Marcus believes IBVTA member like Vapekit are on point when it comes to controlling the where and how ecig products are sold, ensuring that age verification is “front and centre” of business practice – driving home the message of products that are substantially safer than smoking and helping to reduce tobacco related harm.
Finishing up, Marcus spoke about how the government needs to implement sensible regulation of the shortfill market in order to ensure the safety of consumers. Currently, shortfills do not have to be tested and registered with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
He also added that the restriction to tank size makes no sense as consumers – especially Direct-to-Lung vapers will remove bungs from tanks or seek out larger tanks because 2ml is not big enough for their needs.
“It’s important that when we look at the regulation that sits behind these topical areas…we’re really well controlled. We mustn’t knee jerk into action in one way or the other if we are to allow the retail trade to deliver that expertise and advice that is so greatly needed by every single smoker,” Mr Saxton concluded.