The NHS is helping hospitalised smokers quit. The National Health Service are investing £183m into supporting patients admitted to hospitals. They’ll be placing a particular focus on the most at risk groups. Currently, 10% of pregnant female smokers are still using tobacco products by the time they reach full term. The NHS will also focus on those who suffer from long term mental health issues and learning disabilities.
The long term goal is to help reduce the number of future hospital admissions from smoking related illnesses. This follows on from news last year that e-cigarettes will become available in hospitals as well as lowering the risk level of charging and using e-cigarettes to that of a mobile phone.
The UKVIA is expanding, with UK brands and vaping manufacturers joining their ranks. The UKVIA is one of the leading organisations supporting and advocating for the industry. With some huge names adding their influence to the members list, it’s a significant shift. Manufacturers include vaping giants SMOK and Innokin. There are also two more UK based companies on the list – Oxford Vapours and E-Cig Direct.
New York State may push to raise the legal age for purchasing vaping products to 21. State governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products (which includes e-cigarettes) to 21. Currently, several counties in New York already have a policy in place with a minimum age of 21. This follows on from the Tobacco 21 initiative which hopes to reduce teen vaping and smoking. The logic behind it is that 21 year olds are less likely to interact with under 18s meaning they’ll have less access through legal adults.
Following on from this, there’s been criticism for the Tobacco 21 initiative, stating raising the age has been ineffective in the past with tobacco and alcohol products. Six states have already banned access to e-cigarettes (as a part of the tobacco ban) to those under the age of 21. The logic has been considered flawed given that statistics show 90% of tobacco users started smoking before they even turned 18. Regardless of whether 21 year olds run in the same social circles as 18 year olds or younger, this initiative may just drive more to illegal, counterfeit or unsafe options. Aside from that, it will also limit the options of 18-21 year olds already using e-cigarettes as a means to quit conventional tobacco products.
Health Canada has launched a campaign to raise awareness about teen vaping. While south of the border the FDA have raised major concerns over teen vaping, resulting in a potential flavour ban, Canada have taken a different approach. They’ll be launching a two phase campaign, one part directed at parents and the second part at 13 – 18 year olds regarding the risks of under-age vaping. The campaign will include advertising and in-school education to reach both parent and teen demographics.
Tobacco price increases in New Zealand are driving more people towards vaping. With a steady increase in prices for tobacco products over the last several years, the average pack of cigarettes now ranges between $20 to $25 NZD. Heavier smokers are spending upwards of $200 NZD per week and through Quitline and doctors advice are starting to switch to vaping. Estimates have placed the average saving at around $60 a week.
The illegality of vaping products in Australia often means people end up getting their items online from unregulated stores. The Medical Journal of Australia released findings that e-liquids they tested that were labelled as nicotine free weren’t always accurate. From a sample size of 10 “nicotine free” liquids, 6 contained nicotine of varying strengths. On top of this, many samples contained biological matter that would suggest poor quality control during manufacture. Without regulation, sometimes these products come from illegitimate manufacturers meaning they’re not exactly what they say they are. It highlights the importance of the reforms Australia are considering surrounding vaping. Once something is legal it can be properly regulated and enforce more stringent quality control.
Thailand are looking to review their current legislation surrounding vaping. E-cigarettes are currently totally illegal in Thailand and anyone found with one can face serious fines or even up to 10 years of jail time. This is both restrictive on locals who are looking to quit smoking as well as on tourists visiting the country. There is now set to be a study regarding the concerns surrounding vaping which will take around six months. Following this, the regulations may stay the same or could be updated to allow for e-cigarette licenses for import and local use.