The Office for National Statistics has just released its annual publication, Adult Smoking Habits in Great Britain, with data for 2017. While smoking rates amongst young adults have dipped further, those for older adults have for the first time in years, increased slightly, a rise that was sadly predicted.

The ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in the first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.

Earlier this year, anti-smoking experts explained why a post-Brexit Britain should consider getting rid of the ineffective EU-wide e-cigarette regulations, which have led to a stall in progress in relation to smoking cessation, rather than to progress.

They grew concerned as the rapid growth in the numbers of people switching from smoking to vaping had dropped significantly. Despite the fact that Public Health England has openly endorsed the safer alternatives as smoking cessation tools, the number of smokers switching per year has dropped from 800,000 to 100,000.

“The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes. It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking.” said ASH ( Action on Smoking and Health) in a press release last Summer.

TPD regulations are stopping smokers from switching to e-cigs

Besides the bad publicity that e-cigarettes are still subjected to, the TPD regulation banning sales of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml, has been making it hard for many smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

It is a known fact that when smokers first turn to vaping, they first start with higher doses of nicotine to match the hit they were getting from their cigarettes, and then proceed to wean themselves slowly in order to curb their addiction. Therefore the ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.

Addiction expert fails to see rationale behind TPD restrictions

Leading nicotine researcher Dr Lynne Dawkins from the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, said that data she has personally compiled has indicated that vapers are compensating for lower-concentration liquids by vaping more. She added that she fails to see any rationale behind the TPD2 restrictions.

For the first time since the advent of  e-cigarettes, things have taken a wrong turn, and smoking rates have gone up from 16.1% in 2016 to 16.8% in 2017.

“There is no rationale for that cap – it seems arbitrary to me. There’s no evidence for increased harms of nicotine for levels above 20mg/ml. In light of research by our group, if you reduce the strength you compensate – that’s costly financially, and comes with a health cost,” said Dawkins.

 

Besides encouraged to remove the TPD2 regulations, MPs were also urged to introduce HnB products. Professor of pathology at St Andrews University and chair of the government’s advisory Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment referred to the relative safety of the products. “Heat-not-burn products show a 90-95 per cent fall in cancer-causing chemicals. Some disappeared, some fell by half.”

The TPD is having a negative effect on smoking rates

2017 was the year that plain packaging and the Tobacco Products Directive effectively began. In the meantime, the UK was on the right track had already been experiencing the lowest number of smokers ever recorded. Sadly, for the first time since the advent of  e-cigarettes, things have taken a wrong turn, and smoking rates have gone up from 16.1% in 2016 to 16.8% in 2017.

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