Thank you for contacting me about the regulation of vaping and e-cigarettes and the World Health Organisation.
While e-cigarettes are not risk free, the Government remains an active supporter of the use of e-cigarettes as a means to help people stop smoking and contribute towards the goal of a smoke free England by 2030.
Some of the highest success rates of those trying to stop smoking are among people using an e-cigarette, with evidence suggesting that an additional 70,000 people stop smoking every year as a result of using these devices. An estimated 2.4 million vapers are former smokers, and Vaping Awareness Month - VApril - provides an opportunity to highlight the potential health benefits of making the switch.
I note your concerns about the World Health Organisation's proposals for the Conference of the Parties Tenth Meeting (COP10). While the meeting in November referred to in your email did not actually take place in the end due to unrest in Panama, I know that the Government has regularly set out its position on vaping at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and will do so at the next conference in Panama later this year.
The delegation will not agree to any decisions which would impact on the UK's ability to make regulated vapes available for adult smokers who wish to quit smoking. The latest ‘Vaping in England’ report published last year, which includes an array of evidence produced by the United Kingdom academic community, is publicly available online and has been shared with the World Health Organization Global Tobacco Regulators Forum.
As with previous events at the Conference of the Parties, the Government will use the opportunity to speak about the UK’s progress on the implementation of tobacco control policies. This will include the role of nicotine replacement therapy and vapes in supporting people to quit all forms of tobacco. All the COP papers and decisions during the COP are available through the following link: https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/conference-of-the-parties/tenth-session-of-the-conference-of-the-parties.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.