Clause 7 - Sale of vaping products to under 18s

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 9 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central 12:45, 9 Mai 2024

I, too, welcome the fact that legislation is at last being supported by the Government and is before us today. I have deep concern about the impacts of vaping—and not just on physical health, although much research clearly needs to be done to understand the extent of that. In the Health Committee, we saw a paper on the DNA methylation changes that take place in the oral cavity. We have not seen the impact on the lungs, because that would require more invasive sampling, but the evidence shows that much research needs to be done to understand the implications of vaping on physical health.

I am also concerned that we are looking only at the age of 18. I understand the Government’s reasons—clearly, young people can readily become addicted to the nicotine in these products, and I welcome the measures to restrain that—but I have serious concerns about those over 18 who commence vaping. I understand that a paper will be coming out in Sweden showing that people move from vaping to smoking, so I am concerned that there could be unintended consequences if we do not take more extensive measures on vaping.

I absolutely understand that the Government are using the Bill to send a clear public health message that vaping is safer than smoking and that smoking kills, so if people can move from smoking to vaping, that is a positive health change. However, we do not yet know the extent of the harm that can be done by vaping, so we could well be back here again if we do not put proper measures in the Bill to facilitate more action more rapidly, should evidence come forward on the impacts of vaping.

I have talked about physical health, but we know that vaping involves an addictive product, and we do not want to see another generation of people becoming addicted to a nicotine product. We must recall that the vaping industry, like the tobacco industry of old—well, it is still in existence—has the sole interest of bringing forward another generation of people who are addicted to a substance, to ensure that those people buy its products and it profits. Leaving individuals with that dependency means that they are in bondage not only financially but in terms of their health. We must ensure that we properly examine the scope of the challenges involved in leaving over-18s exposed.