The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has released a major report calling for the UK government to promote electronic cigarettes via a mass media campaign.
This would form part of a campaign that returned funding for anti-smoking campaigns to at least 2008 levels.
The suggestion is just one of a number of recommendations the RCP has made to encourage the use of vapes for smokers who can’t or won’t quit.
Vape products currently include a message that says they contain nicotine which is highly addictive. (This even applies when the product does not actually contain nicotine, i.e. devices and tanks, requiring a supplementary message saying “only when used with nicotine”.)
The RCP is now recommending changes to these health messages which make it clear that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
To further encourage the take up of electronic cigarettes, the organisation believes that taxes on vaping products should be reduced.
Currently, vaping products incur a tax of 20%. The RCP believes that this should be lowered to 5% for reduced-harm products such as electronic cigarettes.
The RCP also wants the government to send a positive message on vaping by making it clear that smoke free policies are not extended to vaping.
In particular, the organisation argues that smoke-free areas should be vape friendly, to further encourage smokers to switch.
The organisation does call for vape product packaging to be made less attractive, in order to limit their appeal to children. This call is likely to alarm the industry, as taking this too far (as with plain packaging) would reduce the appeal of vaping products to the general public.