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.

2 Introduction

2.1 Introduction

This report presents the independent analysis of responses to the Scottish Government Vaping products - tightening rules on advertising and promotion consultation[2]. The consultation ran from 3 February 2022 to 29 April 2022 on the Scottish Government Citizen Space website.

2.2 Context

While current evidence indicates that vaping products are less harmful than smoking tobacco, the Scottish Government 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 may take decades. For that reason, until the evidence base is further developed, 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)[3] 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[4] showed that vape use by young people has increased since 2015. The percentage 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 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. The Scottish Government 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.
  • 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. This means that non-smokers who vape could also become addicted to these devices. The proposals also cover non-nicotine containing vaping liquids given the presence of potentially harmful toxins and chemicals in all vaping liquids, as set out in the Consultation Paper.

At the same time as reducing the visibility of these products the Scottish Government 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.

2.3 This Public Consultation

The consultation has sought views on proposed regulations which aim to strike a balance between protecting non-smokers and making information available to smokers. The responses and consultation analysis will help the Scottish Government to finalise the scope of these regulations.



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