The UKVIA welcomes proposals for on-the-spot fines and a ‘robust licensing scheme’, both of which were raised as part of a discussion on illegal vape sales by Peter Gibson MP during a Westminster Hall Debate this week.
The debate saw a general cross-party consensus that there needs to be increased regulations and licensing on the vaping industry.
As Mark Eastwood MP put it:
“The legal vaping industry, like any other industry, needs protecting from criminal activity and illegal competition”.
As the leading trade body for the sector, the UKVIA has long called for a fit-for-purpose licensing scheme and for £10,000 on-the-spot fines for retailers caught selling illicit and non-compliant products – such as ‘big puff’ devices which may be legal in other countries, but not in the UK.
Such a system could be used to better support Trading Standards teams in proactively enforcing laws and taking action against rogue retailers, while also enabling vaping to fulfil its potential as a stop smoking tool for adults – something that cannot be achieved through prohibitive measures such as flavour restrictions and disposable bans.
The UKVIA respectfully disagrees with Gibson’s suggestion that vapes should be sold ‘in plain packaging and out of sight, just like tobacco’ as this would send entirely the wrong message to smokers and conflate vaping with cigarettes – which kill 250 people every day in the UK alone.
Vaping poses only a fraction of the risks of smoking and, while we support the MP’s suggestion for ‘a nationwide awareness campaign on illegal vapes’,
We also want to see a nationwide awareness campaign on the relative risks of vaping, which is 95% less harmful than smoking.
The UKVIA is currently involved in a major industry-wide consultation to develop a framework for a vape retail and distributor licensing, which will be presented to parliamentarians in February.
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