ASH Scotland calls on elected MPs to immediately reintroduce the Tobacco and Vapes Bill

02 July 2024

ASH Scotland is urging General Election candidates standing in Scottish constituencies to support the immediate reintroduction of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill and ensure it is passed as quickly as possible into law, if they are elected to become MPs on Thursday (4 July 2024).

The health charity wants MPs to reintroduce the UK-wide Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which proposed changing the law to prevent anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 from being sold tobacco. This would mean tobacco being progressively and incrementally cleared from retail space, as well as no longer making it an offence in Scotland for customers aged under 18 to purchase the addictive, health harming substance.

ASH Scotland wants a reintroduced Bill to maintain proposed powers for the UK Government to make UK-wide regulations, with consent required from the Scottish Government, to restrict the flavours, contents, retail packaging and product requirements of e-cigarettes to tackle the youth vaping epidemic. The charity also wants the continued inclusion of powers enabling Ministers at Holyrood to make provisions about tobacco warning notices and to regulate retail displays of e-cigarettes and other nicotine products.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We are urging all General Election candidates in Scotland to hit the ground running if they are elected as MPs this Thursday by working to immediately reintroduce the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

“Tobacco continues to be the biggest preventable killer, causing more than 8,000 deaths each year, so the new UK Government and cross-party MPs as well as the Scottish Government should work at pace to eradicate the damage that profit-centred multi-national tobacco corporations are inflicting on people’s lives and enable Scotland to attain a tobacco-free generation by the target date of 2034.

“Tobacco industry promotions have lured youngsters into starting to use their addictive, harmful products for decades and the same is happening with vapes so we’re urging General Election candidates to support our call to stop the targeted marketing of sweet flavoured, brightly coloured e-cigarettes in engaging packaging aimed at children, by supporting the introduction of vital measures as a matter of urgency to protect the health of young people now and future generations.”

Most vapes contain high levels of nicotine, which is very addictive, as well as toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhaling and can damage lungs over time. ASH Scotland is advocating for measures to make e-cigarettes flavourless and for the standardisation of vaping device designs and packaging preventing imagery, colours, descriptors and branding, to reduce the attractiveness of products to children.

Election candidates have also been urged by ASH Scotland to uphold the UK’s commitment to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3, an important global health treaty, by undertaking not to engage on health policy issues with tobacco or vaping companies, or organisations closely linked with the tobacco industry, as they are not credible health stakeholders.