Vaping display of ignorance

vaping shop display
Displays of vaping products in stores can help to alert smokers to the alternatives.

Ban on in-store promotions ‘would be negative’

SOME of Scotland’s most disadvantaged people would be hindered from quitting smoking if Holyrood goes ahead with plans to ban vaping product displays in shops.

That’s the view of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), which has repeated its calls for the proposal to be ditched as it fears making less harmful alternatives less obvious would hamper the drive for people to stop smoking.

Some 53.8% of those who responded to an official consultation into the Scottish Government’s plans to tighten rules on advertising and promoting vaping products said that in-store displays should be allowed to remain.

A sizeable 48.6% of respondents said they feared greater curbs on the advertising of vaping products would have a negative impact on those living at a socio-economic disadvantage.

That compares with 25.5% who believed they would have a positive impact. Others were unsure.

Moreover, 50.5% of all respondents said restrictions would have a negative impact on individuals, compared with 36.9% who believed they would have a positive impact.
SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said: “The opposition here is clear – and the concerns completely legitimate.

“While well-intentioned to improve the nation’s health, these proposals risk the unintended consequences of hampering efforts to make Scotland a smoke-free nation.

“Vaping products are a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and a proven route towards people quitting. If displays of them are banned in shops, fewer people will realise they are available and fewer people will quit.

“We genuinely believe these proposals will make the situation worse rather than better, particularly in Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities.

“We should be using every tool available – including vapes – to help people stop smoking, rather than hiding them from view in our shops.

“We know there are concerns around children trying to buy these products, but Scotland’s convenience store sector is committed to the responsible sale of all age-restricted products. We work with our members to share and encourage best practice.”

The SGF highlighted Cancer Research UK projections that suggest the richest fifth of the country’s population could be smoke-free by 2034, but that the poorest fifth will not cross the 10% mark by 2050.

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) also criticised ministers’ proposal for the same reasons.

UKVIA director general John Dunne said: “We hope the Scottish Government sees sense and goes back to the drawing board on their proposals, listens to the experts and speaks to the millions of adults no longer smoking.

“In their current drafting, these plans are deeply ill-advised, risking the public health potential of vaping.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson responded: “Vaping is one of the possible tools available to existing smokers to help stop tobacco use. However, they’re not a lifestyle accessory.

“We are very concerned by reports of under-age young people obtaining e-cigarettes or vaping products. Our recent consultation proposed restrictions on vaping products that strike a balance between protecting all non-smokers from the potential harms of vaping.”