Friday 10 May 2024

Rampant misinformation at the Tobacco and Vapes Bill committee


The UK Vaping Industry Association has written to MPs to raise concerns about the  ‘misleading, incomplete, unsubstantiated, or incorrect’ information presented to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Committee last week. The UKVIA should have been invited to give evidence to the committee (it has no links to the tobacco industry and therefore could not be disqualified on the usual McCarthyite grounds) but it wasn't. Instead, the floor was given to rabid anti-vapers, mendacious fanatics and hopeless ignoramuses. 

The UKVIA has compiled a little document with a handful of the worst lies told by committee members and their guests during the two day hearing. They include... 

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH): “There is a link between regular vaping and moving onto smoking..."  

Laura Young, PhD Researcher from the Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee: “The first thing to remember is that vaping is not good for you. It is slightly better than smoking...”

Steve Turner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, was a repeat offender, claiming that vaping causes popcorn lung and that "nicotine addiction is smoking". 
Dr Rob Branston, one of Anna Gilmore's cronies at her Bloomberg-funded pressure group, left a massive hostage to fortune when he said “we can be reasonably confident that there will not be a big wave of illicit products in the future.” Cut that one out and keep it.

The UKVIA letter reads, in part:

“Because the evidence was mainly given by those who have spoken out against vaping in the past, it presented a very skewed message which often conflated the legal compliant vape industry with the black market and frequently made no distinction between the tobacco and vaping industries.

“We recognise there are illegal traders in our industry who will sell to children, and criminal gangs who import black market devices, which can contain illegal and dangerous substances. The legitimate and majority side of the sector want to rid the country of this scourge on society and see them prosecuted, punished and driven out of business. To equate the illegal and legal vaping sectors is as unfair as saying that illegal immigrant smugglers and the Dover to Calais ferry do the same thing. One is illegal and needs to be stopped, the other performs a helpful and beneficial service.

“We are also not trying to water down, delay or circumvent the legislation but we do want to ensure that when MPs scrutinise this Bill they are doing so from an informed perspective which comes from fact not fiction. In scrutinising this Bill, MPs must balance the rights and needs of adult smokers to have access to the very best products to help them quit, with those of young people to be protected from age-restricted products, including vaping.

“This by no means is an easy path to navigate and it will be made even more treacherous whenever evidence presented to the Committee is so misleading that it does more harm than good. Not only does the underhand management of the Bill Committee’s oral evidence session risk the Bill not facing proper scrutiny prior to its third reading, but the selection process across the board was fundamentally undemocratic, with the people this Bill will impact the most not being able to provide evidence on how it can be improved.

“It is another example of the growing list of decisions by the Department of Health and Social Care to exclude the UKVIA and wider industry from any meaningful collaboration with the Department."

It won't make any difference, obviously. The government has made up its mind and is not interested in facts.

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