While current evidence indicates that vaping products are less harmful than smoking tobacco, we cannot say with total certainty that they do not have any long-term harms to health. Clinical studies that demonstrate any long-term impacts from using vapes will take decades.
Early indications from studies have shown a potential link between use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine and the development of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For that reason, the Scottish Government considers that these products should currently only be used as a means to stop smoking tobacco – the long-term health impacts of which are well documented.
Raising Scotland’s Tobacco-free Generation: Our Tobacco-Control Action Plan 2018  contained a commitment to consult on the detail of restricting advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes in Scotland.
Restricting the advertising and promotion of these products, and reducing their visibility, is one way to ensure young people and adult non-smokers are protected from the uptake of these products whilst the long term health implications remain uncertain. The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2018  showed that vape use by young people has increased since 2015. The number of 13 year old non-smokers who have tried vapes had increased from 13% to 15% and for 15 year olds who are non-smokers it rose from 24% to 28%. This suggests that young people are finding these products to be attractive.
This consultation seeks views on a number of restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products which are aimed at reducing the visibility of them to children, young people and adult non-smokers. We propose to restrict:
- advertising these products on billboards, advertising hoardings, buses and other vehicles, through distributing leaflets and flyers, and placing adverts on moving video apparatus;
- distributing free or cut-price samples; and
- sponsoring an activity, event or person.
Nicotine is highly addictive and is present in most vape liquids to mimic the effects from smoking traditional cigarettes. Non-smokers who take up vaping are therefore also at risk from the adverse effects of nicotine to which they would not otherwise be exposed. This means that non-smokers who vape could also become addicted to these devices. The proposals will also cover non-nicotine containing vaping liquids given the presence of potentially harmful toxins and chemicals in all vaping liquids, as set out in this consultation paper.
At the same time as reducing the visibility of these products we aim to ensure that adults wishing to vape as a way to quit tobacco smoking can easily access advice about the benefits of vaping products as a cessation aid.
This consultation seeks views on whether restrictions are needed to help us strike a balance between these aims.
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