The Khan Report on the Future of Smoking in the UK
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care commissioned an independent review to be conducted looking at all areas of tobacco control. It was headed up by Javed Khan OBE, and the report was released last week. In response to its release, the Independent British Vape Trade Association was invited to speak about vaping on Radio 4.
“The Khan review: making smoking obsolete” is by and large a hugely positive document for electronic cigarettes and vaping.
“My proposals are not just a plan for this government, but successive governments too. To truly achieve a smokefree society in our great country, we need to commit to making smoking obsolete, once and for all,” said Javed Khan.
In it, he proposed that the government must urgently look to improving its promotion of vapes as an effective ‘swap to stop’ tool to help people quit smoking – thanks to the contributions of trade bodies like the Independent British Vape Trade Association and consumer charities like the New Nicotine Alliance.
With the media keen to talk to experts about vaping, Radio 4’s World At Programme interviewed the Independent British Vape Trade Association’s Chairman Marcus Saxton. The journalist quizzed him about the importance of vaping flavours and how ensuring age restrictions are adhered to in-store and online.
The journalist pointed out that although the evidence shows it is a relatively low number of children using ecigs, the level of alarm about it is high.
Marcus Saxton commented: “I absolutely agree, although I’m very grateful you pointed out it is a very small number of 11–18-year-olds who are vaping who haven’t smoked already. I absolutely appreciated that any one of these stories that demonstrate that these products that are designed for adults and adult smokers are getting into the hands of youths – it is something that we take really seriously.
“Anyone who is selling nicotine containing products needs to adopt an age protocol whether it be online or in-store. And effectively what that means is that people under the age of 18 should not be able to get access to those products. Now, clearly, people are able to get hold of these, just like other categories like alcohol. Nevertheless, that’s why our education process to retailers and to online retailers is absolutely critical.”
Mr Saxton pointed out that comprehensive age verification software takes customers through a similar process to banks – a protocol that includes age verification through the production of a driving licence or other traditional, credible means.
On the subject of the appealing nature of the flavours found in e-liquids, Marcus added: “This is a bit of a misnomer…the flavour is absolutely critical to help a smoker actually step away and remain smoke-free.
“They start from a tobacco habit, and effectively the role of flavours means they want to differentiate away from a tobacco flavour as quickly as possible. And the fact that there are many different attractive flavours – blackcurrant, candy floss, or similar – is merely about retaining interest for that adult smoker to get as far away from a tobacco-based flavour, which is the thing they are trying to quit from and remain quitting from.”
Marcus Saxton concluded with the powerful statement: “This is about adult smokers and there’s never been a better time for an adult smoker to make the switch.”