Vaping products - tightening rules on advertising and promoting: consultation analysis

EKOS was commissioned to undertake an independent analysis of responses to tightening rules on advertising and vaping products. The report presents the findings from the public consultation and explains the methodology that was used to analyse responses.

13 Further Comments

13.1 Question 10 – Further comments

The final consultation question sought any further comments respondents wish to make on this consultation.

Please outline any other comments you wish to make on this consultation.

There are a total of 261 final comments, equating to 34% of total respondents:

  • Around one-third of these respondents provide final comments in support of the proposals.
  • Two-thirds of these respondents provide final comments that are critical of the proposals.

A high proportion of comments simply restate points made elsewhere in the consultation.

13.1.1 Respondents who support the proposals

Theme 1: Broad approval of the Scottish Government proposals

The most common theme raised by these respondents (mostly individuals and health organisations) is approval of the Scottish Government proposals and highlighting the negatives associated with vaping products. The same respondents raise a concern that vaping products are being used as a replacement to smoking as opposed to a method to quit nicotine entirely. Further, some health organisations reiterate a point that the effects of the long-term use of the vaping products are not yet fully known and are supportive of precautionary measures to ensure non-smokers are protected from potential long-term harms.

“Some people see vaping products as a way to smoke but without the harmful effects of cigarettes. If rules around them aren't tightened some people could treat them as a full-time replacement for cigarettes rather than a short-term stop smoking aid.”


“It is important to note that no evidence of harm does not equal no harm”.

ASH Scotland

Theme 2: Disapproval of people vaping in public places

A number of individual respondents complain about people vaping in public places, including from those individuals who support a ban in line with the smoking ban.

“Vaping is really offensive to non-smokers. I think it's even more revolting to non-smokers than tobacco; the smell and volume of vapour are disgusting. On a personal level, vaping strongly irritates my throat.”


Theme 3: Further restrictions are suggested

Several further restrictions to be considered are noted by some respondents (e.g. by individuals and health organisations), including:

  • Plain packaging/branding or flavouring.
  • Vaping products should be hidden from view in shops or available through prescription.
  • Single use vapes should be banned to prevent plastic waste.
Theme 4: Protecting children and young people

Many of the comments from respondents (e.g. from individuals, health organisations and local government) support the proposals to help protect children and young people in the long-term. These respondents raise concerns that advertising glamourises vaping to these groups, as they feel vaping products are designed to appeal to children and young people, and that they are far too easy for those who are under-age to buy.

“…we are concerned at the apparent growth in uptake of vaping products in young people across Scotland, witnessed by rising complaints from parents about children vaping at school, increasing prevalence of coloured and child appealing vapes such as ‘fidget spinner’ vapes, and the increasingly easy availability of these products at an increasing number of premises across Scotland.”

The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS)

These respondents also express support for more to be done to raise awareness of the impacts of using vaping products (e.g. through a public health campaign for young people). Education is viewed as essential by these respondents to “highlight dangers of vaping both for existing users of vaping products and for potential future users who mistakenly believe that the harms of vaping are insignificant.”

Another concern raised by these respondents is the role of social media influencers promoting vaping products directly to young people.

Theme 5: Appropriate regulation

A point raised (e.g. by some health organisations) is that regulation will have to be carefully drafted due to the evolving nature of vape products, with new products brought onto the market on a regular basis. These respondents feel that a lack of clarity may result in loopholes which could be exploited by industry.

“Vaping products are continually evolving with thousands of products now on the market. Ensure legislation is written to ensure there are no loopholes that can be exploited by the tobacco / vaping industry through product, marketing etc. innovation. Ensure legislation is comprehensive to encompass the range of products available and as in the future.”

NHS Orkney Public Health

13.1.2 Respondents who do not support the proposals

Theme 1: The benefits of vaping over smoking

A key theme from respondents who do not support the proposals relate to promoting the benefits of vaping (primarily from some individual respondents, but also from the vaping sector, tobacco industry, and other organisations) and that further restrictions on advertising would prevent adult smokers from gaining the information needed to make informed choices.

Theme 2: Personal testimonials

There are many personal testimonials from individual respondents who have given up smoking and used vapes to help quit. These responses highlight the number of years they smoked cigarettes, the health problems they experienced from smoking tobacco products, and the difficulties they had giving up smoking using other methods.

“I was a smoker of 20+ years and in the latter years smoking up to 50 cigarettes per day. 8 years ago, my partner found information on these products and convinced me to try them as a method of quitting, in which I was finally successful. Prior to this I had tried several times with traditional NRT through the stop smoking service with the NHS each time reverting back to smoking.


“Vaping saved my life. I had tried quitting smoking for over 5 years and struggled at every turn. Vaping helped me quit almost instantly, with only a 1 day transition period. If restrictions come to vaping, it would be a disservice to the country and would only encourage more people - including children - to pick up smoking.”


Theme 3: Evidence presented in the Consultation Paper

Some respondents (some individual respondents and the vaping sector) question the partiality of the evidence base presented in the Consultation Paper and/or disagree with the evidence base presented. These respondents cite a lack of studies within the Consultation Paper that highlight the effectiveness of vapes as a smoking cessation tool or the relative lack of health harms compared to smoking.

Others disagree with points raised in the Consultation Paper such as 'Vaping products should only be used as a tool to help people stop smoking tobacco”, “They are not a lifestyle accessory”, and ”Vape products should only be used as a way to stop smoking tobacco and people should aim to use vapes for a short time”.

Theme 4: Freedom of choice

The freedom of choice point is also made by some individual respondents. The feedback is that restrictions on advertising were felt to be an unnecessary infringement on personal liberty.

“People should have the freedom to choose whether to vape or not the same as smoking.”




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