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Response to launch of youth smoking and vaping consultation

LTA RESPONSE: Public consultation to stop the start of new smokers and address youth vaping

The London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London have welcomed the launch of a UK-wide Government consultation to stop the start of new smokers and address youth vaping which launched today.

The consultation is open and closes December 6 2023: 

The Government has launched an eight week national consultation today.

Proposals included in the consultation include:

  1. Making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products
  2. Restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes so that vape flavours are no longer targeted at children – we want to ensure this is done in a way that continues to support adult smokers to switch
  3. Regulating point of sale displays in retail outlets so that vapes are kept out of sight from children and away from products that appeal to them, such as sweets
  4. Regulating vape packaging and product presentation, ensuring that neither the device nor its packaging is targeted to children
  5. Considering restricting the sale of disposable vapes, which are clearly linked to the rise in vaping in children. These products are not only attractive to children but also incredibly harmful to the environment
  6. Exploring further restrictions for non-nicotine vapes and other nicotine consumer products such as nicotine pouches
  7. Exploring whether increasing the price of vapes will reduce the number of young people using them
  8. Introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and vapes

Tracy Parr, Programme Director for the London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London said: “We know that most smokers start as teenagers, with 83% taking up this addictive and deadly habit before the age of 20. We also know that increasing numbers of teens are trying nicotine vaping.

“This consultation is a much needed piece of the puzzle in curbing the take up of both smoking and vaping among under 18s, stopping the start, while ensuring that adult smokers maintain access to nicotine vape products which are an extremely effective tool to curb tobacco dependence and early death within London’s almost one million smokers.

“Nicotine vaping is a much safer alternative for adults who smoke and a very effective tool to help smokers quit, especially when combined with free behavioural therapy such as that available through local Stop Smoking Services in London and the Stop Smoking London Helpline.

Professor Kevin Fenton CBE PrFPH FRCP PhD, London Tobacco Alliance Board Member and Regional Director, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (London) said: “For decades tobacco has had a grip on our population. It’s a  highly addictive and deadly product. Most smokers first try smoking as children and then got hooked. This means that adult smokers are denied their right to ‘choose’ the impact it has on their health, and are robbed by as much as 10 years of life on average, as a result.

“Seeing decisive action to raise the age of sale of tobacco and curb the attractiveness of nicotine vape products to children and adult non-smokers is gratifying.

“Any additional investment to help Londoners of all ages stop smoking or to never start at all, is welcomed is welcomed. We will be encouraging all our partners to respond to this consultation and look forward to the outcome.”

Dr Irem Patel, a respiratory consultant and Co-clinical Director for the London Respiratory Network said: “I see the devastating effects of smoking on people’s health, lives and families every day. Most smokers start young and we know that this puts them at greater risk for tobacco dependency, lung cancer, heart disease and early death.

“Londoners are taking up smoking at a falling rate year on year, but it is still far too high. Smoking is still the single biggest cause of premature death and preventable disease in the UK. We don’t want this for our children.”

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