Now we have left the EU, the UK will no longer have to ensure that domestic regulation complies with the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive.
Therefore, there will now be an opportunity to consider regulatory changes that achieve a proportionate approach to managing risk, whilst giving smokers access to products which will reduce harm.
The UK Government has: “a statutory obligation to conduct Post Implementation Reviews to assess the impact of tobacco regulations on both the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 by May 2021. The Department will also review the United Kingdom tobacco and e-cigarette regulatory framework so it continues to protect the nation’s health and support the prevention Green Paper ambition to make England smoke-free by 2030.”
The public consultation element of these Post-Implementation Reviews was open from the end of January to mid-March this year and the Department of Health and Social Care is committed to produce this review by 20th May 2021. These reviews together, combined with the opportunity post-Brexit, represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to review and reconsider the existing laws, and how to tackle issues such as health inequalities, smoking rates in the UK, regional and demographic discrepancies around smoking, and the role of reduced risk nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, snus and nicotine pouches in helping to address these issues.
The Post-Implementation Reviews of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (UK regulations transposing the EU Tobacco Product Directive, TPD) provides the opportunity to re-examine the impact the regulations have had on limiting the opportunities presented by reduced risk nicotine delivery systems to move people away from smoking.
This is a pressing need, given, for example, the limitations placed on bottle sizes and nicotine strengths have been issues raised repeatedly by vapers, retailers and producers alike which can be addressed, while still ensuring that the highest levels of safety for all vaping products are maintained.
Furthermore, other reduced risk nicotine delivery systems are banned outright (e.g. snus); disproportionately regulated (e.g. heated tobacco); or completely unregulated (e.g. nicotine pouches). We now have the opportunity to take an holistic look at everything that can be done to help us achieve a smoke-free 2030.