Update: Since this post we've had the opportunity to put our point of view to BBC News. Read/view the story here!
Enjoy sweet e-liquid flavours?
If you're in Wales, you could be soon left with a sour taste.
Public Health Wales recently announced that while e-cigarettes were safer than tobacco cigarettes, confectionary flavours should be banned.
We’ve seen many comments from vapers since then saying they like sweeter e-liquid flavours.
So we’ve invited Public Health Wales to visit one of our shops so they could speak to vapers.
Below is a copy of the letter we have sent...
I am writing to you in regards to your recent statement on confectionary e-liquid flavours, in particular your statement:
You can buy bubblegum, candy floss, jam doughnut flavour e-cigarettes and they are only aimed at one audience – and that’s about recruiting children.
We were surprised to hear that you believe Welsh vaping businesses are targeting children, and as a result we’d like to invite you to one of our shops for a day.
This will give you the chance to:
- Speak to our customers, and see first hand the flavours adult vapers are using
- To see our Challenge 25 policy in action, a policy where anyone under the age of 25 is required to prove their age
We would suggest Swansea as our busiest shop, with high sales of the premium e-liquid you wish to ban, and we’d love to meet you there. However, you are welcome to visit any of our shops, and you wouldn’t need to give any advance warning.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly.
Background to Public Health Wales Announcement
The Public Health Wales announcement followed an attempt by the Welsh Government to ban vaping in public places.
The policy would have forced vapers out with smokers, devastated e-cig shops and sent a clear negative message to smokers.
The ban was defeated by one vote after Plaid Cymru did an about turn, allegedly because Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said a previous deal with Plaid Cymru was a ‘cheap date’.
A New Position: Ban Confectionary E-Liquid Flavours
Public Health Wales has now released a new position statement.
In a significant step forward, they do now state:
If you are a smoker who is unwilling or unable to stop smoking now, switching completely from smoking tobacco to using e-cigarettes will significantly reduce the risks to your health.
However, they also believe that e-liquid confectionary flavours are attracting children to e-liquid.
The problem is that many vapers, especially those who have been vaping for longer, prefer non-tobacco flavours.
One survey, conducted by ECigarette Forum, found almost 19% preferred confectionary flavours, while a further 4% liked candy flavours.
By restricting choice, PHW are reducing the attraction of vaping to smokers, and increasing the likelihood that vapers will return to smoking.
PHW would also be hammering Welsh retail and manufacturing businesses, and the thousands of jobs they support both directly and indirectly.
After all, why would vapers shop at Welsh shops and websites when they could get the flavours they want from English websites?
Think of the Children… What Research Says About Young Vapers
Despite all the regulations, children have always managed to get their hands on cigarettes, and it’s inevitable that some will try vaping.
Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence that only young people who have previously smoked regularly vape.
As the IBVTA (Independent British Vape Trade Association) have pointed out, research has found out that while children who try cigarettes are 50% more likely to become smokers, the same research has found no evidence that children are more likely to become addicted to vaping.
This has been backed up by several other studies, including a study funded by the Welsh government, and a study released today of over 32,000 secondary school students in Wales.
So, why aren’t young people becoming addicted to vaping?
It could be because electronic cigarettes, which do not contain other addictive compounds found in tobacco, do not appear to be nearly as addictive as tobacco cigarettes.
Save The Flavours! What to Do If You Are Concerned About A Flavour Ban
Evidence doesn’t always seem to carry much weight in government circles.
Time and time again, we’ve seen that vapers getting in contact with policy makers and sharing their stories is the most effective to influence policy.
Willing to spend a couple of minutes and get in contact? Here’s how:
By email: [email protected]
By post: Public Health Wales, 2 Capital Quarter, Tyndall Street, Cardiff, CF10 4BZ
By phone: 029 2022 7744
As always, we recommend keeping your cool and staying polite!