Last year the PHE pointed out that forcing vapers to use their e-cigarettes in smoking areas, will not only expose them to harmful second hand smoke, but also undermine their efforts of quitting the deadly habit by pushing them in the presence of smoking.
Unfortunately research carried out last year by the Freedom Association, had found that 87% of UK councils were still applying identical policies for vaping and smoking, and that 29% of councils were even forcing e-cigarette users to vape in designated smoking areas.
UK’s latest Tobacco Plan urges councils to endorse e-cigarettes
Earlier this year, the UK government released a tobacco plan, Towards a Smokefree Generation, A Tobacco Control Plan for England, in which it spoke of its “bold ambition for a smoke-free generation” and plans to cut smoking rates from the current 15.5% to 12% or less by 2022.
However, this advice is sadly still being ignored. A new report from the ‘Freedom to Vape’ campaign, highlights that a clear majority of councils are still refusing to change their policies in relation to e-cigarettes.
More councils than last year are asking vapers to use smoking areas
The report said, “In total, 391 councils responded to our freedom of information requests – a successful response rate of just under 94 per cent. The key findings of this research show that:
- 126 councils (32 per cent of those who responded) require vapers to use designated smoking areas in all or some circumstances, despite that fact that vapers are not smokers. This is an increase from 112 councils in 2016.
- When asked if councillors are due to debate the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan and/or PHE’s advice on vaping policies, a total of 287 councils replied no.
- When asked if the council’s policy will be reviewed as a result of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan, 150 councils either said yes, was scheduled for review later this year or in 2018, or that the policy was under review – a measly 38% of those councils who replied.”
Councils are being urged to think before banning
Several public health experts are concerned about these findings. Amongst these is Director at Counterfactual Consulting, and former director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Clive Bates, “The message to councils is ‘think before you ban’. When people are vaping, it’s almost always because they’ve quit smoking, cut down or are trying to quit,”he said, adding, “Given it’s barely noticeable in most situations, maybe councils should stop treating vapers like pariahs, get behind their efforts to quit smoking, and consider the effect of forcing them back outside with the smokers.”
Read Further : The Freedom Association