Dear Mr Speaker,

Mr Speaker,

 

Dear Mr Speaker,

Save E-cigs is a campaign representing the interests of e-cigarette users (vapers), their friends, and their families, a growing number of whom work within Westminster.

We are writing in regard to recent advice you have received in relation to banning the use of e-cigarettes within the House of Commons.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places was introduced to benefit the health of non-smokers whose health was put at risk as a result of being in close proximity to smokers. Therefore the only possible justification for including e-cigarettes within this ban must also be to protect the health of non-vapers. Is passive vaping dangerous? No. A major scientific study undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Professor Riccardo Polosa concluded that the “effects of e-cigarette use on by standers are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.”   A review of the available literature conducted last year by researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia concluded that “exposures of bystanders pose no apparent concern.” Finally the US Food and Drug Administration conclude that all other substances measured for e-cigarettes were far below allowable levels for human inhalation. They state that levels are so low that it is more hazardous to an individual’s health to breathe the air in any major metropolitan city during rush hour. Importantly, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have stated that there is a 99.7 per cent compliance rate with the smoking ban[1], and they have found no evidence to support the idea that the use of e-cigarettes in public is undermining this.

Some companies have introduced vaping bans, but we are seeing a growing number of such companies reversing these bans as new evidence emerges as to the benefits of e-cigarettes. Recently, Cambridgeshire Police, following a review of “health fears”, decided to allow their officers to vape at work[2].

Leading Pubco Enterprise Inns have recently reversed their ban on e-cigarettes in their licensed premises. In a further move, Enterprise Inns has signed a new supply deal for its tenants to stock and sell Nicolites e-cigarettes which will form part of their open welcome to the vaping community.

The charity ASH and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health are currently working together to help organisations in the public sector develop vaping friendly policies. This may be something you would like to consider.

Perversely, if vaping were to be banned within Westminster, then it is likely there would be an increase in smoking rates. In Spain where a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places has been introduced, there has been a 70 per cent fall in the number of vapers[3]. People that had made the switch to e-cigarettes are unfortunately now smoking again. Smoking rates also increased in New York by a staggering 2.1 per cent following the introduction of a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public.[4] A ban on the use of e-cigarettes in Westminster would force vaping MPs, Peers, staff, and visitors to vape alongside smokers, thus exposing them to temptation and the dangers of second-hand smoke.

We know from the latest statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics that e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by current and former smokers. We know that e-cigarette used in public does not renormalise smoking[5]. We know that e-cigarettes are not a gateway into smoking[6]. We know that e-cigarette use in public does not lead to children using e-cigarettes[7].

There is never a situation where it is better to smoke than to vape. E-cigarettes are after all at least 95 times safer than tobacco cigarettes according to the latest research produced by Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. Professor John Briton from the Royal College of Physicians has said: “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started using e-cigarettes we would save five million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”[8] What possible health benefit do the House of Commons’ authorities hope to achieve with this ban?

With a ban on the advertising of e-cigarettes soon to be introduced, following the passing of the Tobacco Products Directive, where are smokers to find out about e-cigarettes, particularly if they are banned in public? Smokers need to see people using e-cigarettes in public, they need to be able to go up and speak to e-cigarette users so that they can find out further information and then hopefully make the switch to a safer alternative.

Finally, if this ban were to be introduced what would happen to e-cigarettes that have a medicinal license? Recently the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency granted a medicines license to the Voke e-cigarette manufactured by Nicoventures[9]. It is highly likely that other e-cigarettes will receive such licenses going forward. These e-cigarettes look no different to those sold as consumer products. Would MPs, Peers, staff, and visitors be banned from using what would in effect be their medicine? If not how would you expect the House of Commons authorities to distinguish between a medicinal e-cigarette and a consumer one?

We urge you to think very carefully about this issue before taking a decision. If you require further information we would be happy to meet with you. If you would rather take independent expert advice then please do consult some of the experts cited in this letter.

We very much hope that you will continue to support your colleagues who have done the right thing by switching from smoking to vaping. Banning e-cigarettes within the House of Commons will not help them, it will only make their lives harder and may force some of them back to smoking.

 

Yours sincerely,

Save e-cigs

 

 

[1] Meeting of the All-Party Groups on Smoking and Health, Pharmacy, and Heart Disease 10 June 2014

[2] http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Police-in-Cambridgeshire-can-smoke-e-cigarettes-after-health-review-but-they-are-banned-on-our-trains-20130821131920.htm

[3] http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/24345/e-cigarette-sales-in-spain-drop-by-70-per-cent

[4] http://www.churnmag.com/news/smoking-rates-increase-new-york-e-cigs-banned/

[5] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[6] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[7] http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

[8] The Independent Newspaper, 29 March 2013

[9] http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/big-tobaccos-nicotine-inhaler-approved-by-uk-regulator/20066466.article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Meeting of the All-Party Groups on Smoking and Health, Pharmacy, and Heart Disease 10 June 2014

[2] http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Police-in-Cambridgeshire-can-smoke-e-cigarettes-after-health-review-but-they-are-banned-on-our-trains-20130821131920.htm

[3] http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/24345/e-cigarette-sales-in-spain-drop-by-70-per-cent

[4] http://www.churnmag.com/news/smoking-rates-increase-new-york-e-cigs-banned/

[5] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[6] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[7] http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

[8] The Independent Newspaper, 29 March 2013

[9] http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/big-tobaccos-nicotine-inhaler-approved-by-uk-regulator/20066466.article

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