Protecting lungs from smoke and pollution | Letters from Richard Hyslop and Caroline Russell

Letters from Richard Hyslop of the Independent British Vape Trade Association; and Caroline Russell, Green party London assembly member

A man smoking an e-cigarette

Smoking an e-cigarette.
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

It is welcome news that last year vaping contributed to a record number of people in England becoming long-term ex-smokers (Number of smokers in England drops to all-time low, 20 September). If the government, working with the responsible vape industry, introduced a proportionate regulatory regime for the sector then vape products could help even more smokers switch to vaping. But regulations introduced in May of this year will restrict advertising of vape products; remove higher-strength nicotine e-liquid and larger tanks from the market; and force all products, including those not containing nicotine, to carry a health warning. Plans are even being considered within the European commission to subject vaping to additional taxation. Far from encouraging smokers to switch to vaping, these regulations will make switching harder, by restricting access to information, pushing up prices, and removing some of the more effective products from the market.

As a responsible trade association, we are not anti-regulation. On the contrary, our members want to work with policymakers to deliver robust, proportionate, and fit for purpose regulation. Under such a regime vaping would flourish and achieve its full potential in providing a viable and significantly less harmful alternative to tobacco products as well as providing a significant and much needed boost to the UK economy.
Richard Hyslop
Chief executive, Independent British Vape Trade Association

While it’s good news that scientists have invented an inhaler to protect lungs against the effects of air pollution, for £17 per person, per month, it’s an expensive way of going about it. If all that money was spent on measures to improve rural and urban public transport, as well as investment in walking and cycling, we could stop using diesel and move beyond the private car much faster than the glacially slow progress being made by our government. I want a world where our lungs are protected without using an inhaler and where everyone, not just the most well off, can afford to breathe clean air. Cleaning up our filthy air at source, with better public transport, smarter and wider congestion charging and much more active travel, is the only way to truly solve the problem.
Caroline Russell
Green, London Assembly

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