In an odd turn of events, the Scottish government have sided against UK gov in their views on vaping.
By now, our readers are already aware that the UK government are sponsoring a huge drive to promote e-cigarettes. The idea behind the drive is that vape devices are less harmful to the user. The encouragement given to smokers to make the switch takes the strain off the NHS in later life, increasing harm reduction measures for the ex-smoker.
The Scottish government announced they would make a U-turn on this decision earlier in February.
The UK Gov Stance on E-Cigarettes
Since independent reviews and scientific studies have proven vaping to be up to 95% less harmful than smoking, the UK government has driven change in the tobacco advertising industry. Their appeal is that smokers make the switch, potentially even opening up vape devices and e-cigarettes to be available on prescription in England and Wales. NHS trials are underway where vape devices are issued instead of NRT in some English hospitals.
The Scottish Government’s Stance on E-Cigarettes
The Scottish government have been vocal about plans to create a “smoke-free generation” by 2034. Despite this target, advertising vaping products in newspapers and magazines across Scotland is already forbidden. The First Minister is consulting on proposals to further limit advertising and promotion of vaping products in a move branded by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation as a hindrance.
The trade body for the convenience store industry has added their voice to concerns. They called the announcement to review advertising of vape products north of the border unjustified.
What this means for Scottish Smokers?
This plan has faced outrage from anti-smoking charities and campaigners. In an interview with the Herald, Mark Oates of the Adam Smith Institute indicated his worries: that this move could lead to a greater number of smokers dying.
Although the plans to limit advertising of vaping products are meant to protect the future generations from the dangers of nicotine, the plans fail to consider the vast health differences between vaping and smoking. Vaping does not have the same impact on human health and it should not carry the same punishments.
The public fear regarding the decision is that Scottish smokers will be less likely to change to vaping. This means they will continue smoking, eventually putting the same strain on the Scottish NHS as it always has. These smokers will be visible to the younger generations, thereby dampening the plans for the so-called smoke-free generation.
Scotland’s Smoke Free Generation
The smoke free generation is not a new concept. Plans put forward back in 2017 which saw the UK government first take steps towards this target. Smoking is a huge public health risk that has far reaching implications. The government have been fighting to reduce cigarette sales through increased taxation and aggressive advertising policies for some time now.
Moving forward, we can expect to see the same standard of advertising for vaping products south of the border. It remains to be seen exactly what Scottish ministers will announce in coming months.