Vaping Weekly: RCP Report Calls for New Tobacco Harm Reduction Measures

Your weekly dose of vape industry news is here. As always, there’s a lot to keep up with, as governments and health bodies consider the role of vaping in a smoke-free future.


Royal College of Physicians report calls for new tobacco harm reduction measures in the UK

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has long been an ally of vaping as a means of tobacco harm reduction. This week their latest report, titled “Smoking and health 2021: A coming of age for tobacco control?” has called for major changes to the UK’s tobacco harm reduction strategy.

The 152-page report covers a broad range of issues within tobacco control and warns that at current rates, the UK will not be “smoke-free” until 2050. It also suggests new policies, which could have a substantial impact on smoking rates in the UK.

Alongside traditional tobacco control policies, such as tax increases that would double the price of cigarettes over five years, the RCP is also recommending more radical ideas. These include enrolling all smokers on stop-smoking programmes, paying pregnant women to quit smoking, and major investments in media campaigns urging smokers to make the switch to vaping.

Among many positives for the vaping industry within this report, perhaps the most striking is the subject of health claims, which are currently restricted to products with a medicines license:

“Current regulations permit health claims to be made only for products with a medicines license. While necessary to protect the public from unsubstantiated health claims across a wide potential range of non-medicinal products, in a context in which the default for smokers is to continue to use a far more hazardous combustible tobacco product, this restriction is probably counter-productive to public health.

The continued absence of a commercially available licensed e-cigarette in the UK some 13 years after the products first appeared on the UK market is evidence in itself that the licensing process has not been a commercially attractive prospect for e-cigarette manufacturers. There remains a case, therefore, to make nicotine products an exception and allow health-based promotion of products for which a rational basis for reduced harm can be established.”

This report comes at an important time for vaping in the UK, as the government considers new tobacco regulations, now that the country is outside the jurisdiction of the EU’s TPD framework.


Philippines government moves ahead with a new bill to regulate e-cigarettes

The Philippines House of Representatives approved the second reading of a bill that aims to regulate the use, manufacture, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes.

During Wednesday’s session, May 19, 2021, the chamber approved House Bill No.9007, AKA the “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act.”

Although the bill introduces several changes to current regulations, one of its primary functions is to restrict the purchase and use of e-cigarettes to individuals who are at least 18 years old.

Retailers will be required to verify the age of customers via a government-issued identification card, which displays the customer’s photo and date of birth.

Rep. Joet Garcia requested an amendment to the bill that would increase the age requirement to 21, however this was rejected by the chamber.

The bill also prohibits the use of vaping devices in all enclosed public spaces, aside from designated smoking areas. It also prohibits the sale of vapour products and heated tobacco products within 100 meters of a school, playground or other areas frequented by minors.

Online retailers will still be permitted to sell vapour products, however, they will need to put measures into place that ensure customers are of the required age.


The FDA has issued 103 warning letters to vape companies this year

The U.S. FDA has issued 103 warnings to vape manufacturers in 2021. Each company included has registered products with the FDA but did not submit a PMTA by the September 9 2020 deadline. Companies that did not submit a PMTA by this date are required to remove their products from the market.

According to the FDA, companies that received warnings sell or distribute more than 904,000 “unauthorized ENDS”, the majority of which are e-liquid products. Although enforcement is theoretically underway to remove unauthorized products from the market, there is growing concern that the complex nature of PMTAs has led to an unsustainable number of applicants, which could severely disrupt the process.

Regular updates on PMTA enforcement and a more detailed analysis of the current situation can be found here.

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