The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) recently held their annual forum inviting over 200 industry and consumer representatives to London to discuss the future of vaping. From discussing the key focus of vaping as a ‘gift to public health’ to ensuring that a unilateral and informed message from the industry is offering consistent advice to smokers looking to become smoke-free - let’s take a look at the finer details of the forum.
Vaping a “Gift to Public Health”
Looking to play their part in the effort to help the UK become smoke-free, this year’s forum saw panels of industry and consumer experts come together to reach some important conclusions regarding the future of vaping. How do you capture the interests of an estimated 7 million smokers who could be using vaping as a way to become smoke-free?
A keen proponent for the vaping cause and someone who has been seen to regularly support annual initiatives such as VApril, TV’s Doctor Christian Jessen also spoke of the importance of clear and correct messaging to the wider public. An important factor noted by Dr Christian Jessen and his fellow panellists was that the ‘pleasure' of vaping and the positive experience of the vaper that should be promoted alongside the public health benefits of vaping. Public Health England (PHE) cite e-cigarettes to be up to a staggering 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes and they have the potential to help smokers become smoke-free.
In an effort to encourage more smokers to try vaping, it was widely agreed within the forum that the industry must endeavour to work together to make sure that retail staff provide consistent advice to first-time vapers. Regardless of whether the retailer is a specialist shop or a petrol station – all should be equally responsible for explaining the potential health benefits of vaping.
Further panels featuring speakers such as MP Mark Pawsey, Sir Kevin Baron MP and Health Psychologist, Sairah Salim-Sartoni, argued for vaping to be included in all stop smoking services and that amendments should be made to blanket regulations that restrict vaping in public spaces. As part of vaping in public spaces, it was proposed that an official list of vape-friendy pubs in the UK should be compiled, supported by the Chief Executive of the Beer and Pub Association, panellist Andy Tighe. The forum also held a popular session on CBD and vaping which sought to explore how the industry is able to define the health benefits of CBD in light of impending consumer legislation.
The UKVIA Forum 2019
UKVIA is the UK’s go-to body for supporting, developing and promoting the vaping industry as a viable alternative to smoking to help smokers become smoke-free. Comprising of some of the fastest growing independent businesses, pharmaceutical and tobacco companies UKVIA hold an annual forum to meet and discuss public and industry needs. V2 Cigs are a full member of the UKVIA and actively support their work on advocacy and engagement.
Vaping and Young People
One of the toughest challenges that the industry faces is the issue of vaping and young people. According to experts and evidence recently published by PHE, the UK does not necessarily have a significant problem with underage vaping with 1.7% of people aged 11 – 18 admitting that they vape. To ensure this figure remains as low as possible, clear warnings were made to the industry supported by UKVIA’s code of conduct regarding the responsible marketing of vaping products to consumers. The forum also took a look at how the industry might be able to use the new age-verification technology soon to be introduced by the government to curb any unwanted underage customers.
In these exciting times of the vaping industry, we eagerly await further progress and a smoke-free future for all.