Across Great Britain, the word “Brexit” is on every lip. The UK’s exit from the European Union brings a wave of political, economic, and public health transitions. The UK is emancipating itself from a range of mandatory EU measures, including the framework around vaping.
While e-cigarettes are often lumped together with traditional cigarettes, the British want to end this amalgamation. Vaping regulations in Europe seem designed to put a handbrake on its economic growth and, in parallel, smoking rates are not falling as fast as in other regions. British authorities deplore this policy line, and encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and snus.
Britain: the beacon of vaping freedom?
In response to a recent parliamentary report (Science and Technology Committee), the government is planning to re-evaluate vaping policy. First of all, they plan to allow the sale of e-liquids with higher concentrations of nicotine (> 20mg/ml). Another measure is to raise the restriction on 2 ml for packaging of e-juice containing nicotine.
But the biggest policy shift will have to do with advertising for vaping products. The United-Kingdom plans to relax restrictions on vaping ads, in particular regarding the promotion of health benefits associated with vaping. The government hopes that this measure will help encourage smokers to switch to this healthier alternative.
Indeed, EU legislation seems committed to the inclusion of e-cigs in their anti-smoking policy. However, this does nothing to help smokers adopt healthier lifestyle choices. The UK government wants to get the information out there, to ensure the population can make informed choices about what they consume.
Snus, a type of chewing tobacco, could even be authorised for sale and promoted as a healthier alternative. Until recently considered equivalent to smoked tobacco in terms of carcinogens, the British may change their strategy for snus regulation.
With Brexit, the UK is taking matters into its own hands in terms of public safety. Working with information vetted by the scientific community rather than lobbies, they plan to sanction vaping as a public health measure. If the political shift pays off, hopefully the EU can take some inspiration from its former member state.