On Tuesday 26th April a backbench debate discussing the Government’s progress with regards to their Smokefree 2030 goal took place, and vaping played a big role in the discussion. The role that e-cigarettes can play in reaching the 2030 goal was a big focus, as well as the many missed opportunities for action over the three years since the Government committed to a smoke free future.

Switching to vaping is a “step in the direction of better health.”

The debate saw a number of MPs express their support for vaping as an effective tool in reaching the Smokefree 2030 goal. There was much encouragement for e-cigarettes to be included as a crucial tool in harm-reduction, and that more effort needs to be put in to combatting the misinformation about the risk of vaping relative to smoking.

Mary Glindon shared her support for vaping,

“…the vaping industry, which is supporting harm reduction by encouraging people to turn to vaping, should get more support, and vaping should be part of the Government’s harm-reduction strategy… Encouraging people away from cigarettes to vaping would be a good step in the direction of better health.”

Later adding,

“…I am an advocate for vaping. Major reports by the former Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have highlighted the reduced risk potential of vape products… the Government must address consumer misperceptions regarding the relative risk reduction of vaping compared with smoking combustible cigarettes.”

Maggie Throup MP expressed the Government’s hopes to utilise vaping as a crucial tool in the fight against smoking, while also maintaining the strict regulation and low rates of use among young people that the UK has become known for.

“We know that the best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking altogether, but we also know how hard that can be. It remains the Government’s goal to maximise the public health opportunities presented by vapes while ensuring that such products are not appealing to young people and non-smokers.”

“Delays and missed opportunities”

It was highlighted early on in the debate that they had originally planned to focus on the findings of Javed Khan’s independent review, which was due to be released the week before. However, in the latest of many delays, including the long-awaited Tobacco Control Plan, the report will now not be released until later this month.

Bob Blackman MP, Chairman of the APPG on Smoking and Health voiced his disappointment in these delays, stating,

“The Government have a bold ambition, which I strongly support—I am sure we all do—to bring the end of smoking within touching distance. But it is deeply disappointing that, three years on from that being announced in the Green Paper, we do not seem to have made much progress. There is no road map to put us on the route to success. The purpose of this debate is to remind the Minister of the urgent need to deliver the bold action that was promised in the 2019 Green Paper.”

“Javed Khan said he would report back on 22 April, so we were very disappointed that the Secretary of State told Parliament last week that he hoped it would be published in May, with no commitment that that would be the case. That is just the latest of many delays and missed opportunities, which we want to put on the record.”

The Government’s Tobacco Control Plan, which many view as the road map to achieving Smokefree 2030, was due to be published by the end of 2021. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and it is now stated to be due within the next couple of months.

It is disappointing to see that delays continue to prevent the ‘bold action’ that needs to be taken if we hope to reach the increasingly more difficult goal of becoming smoke free by 2030. However, the fact that e-cigarettes are so regularly being raised in these discussions leads us to hope that they will play a crucial role in future plans for harm reduction. It is fantastic to see that the benefits of adult smokers making the switch to vaping are becoming common knowledge among those advocating for change, and that so many are expressing their support of vaping as a harm reduction tool.

At a glance

  • The debate saw a number of MPs express their support for vaping as an effective tool in reaching the Smokefree 2030 goal
  • “Vaping should be part of the Government’s harm-reduction strategy… encouraging people away from cigarettes to vaping would be a good step in the direction of better health.” – Mary Glindon MP
  • Both Javed Khan’s Independent Review and the Tobacco Control Plan are the latest of many delays and are yet to be published


hansard.parliament.uk 26/04/2022

parliamentlive.tv 26/04/2022