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 Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 12:45, 9 Mai 2024

Once again, I thank all hon. Members for their thoughtful and considered remarks —I really do appreciate them. Essentially, the questions are pretty much around the product notification and the availability of quit aids to under-18s. Hon. Members may not have spotted this, but the notification of vapes to the MHRA is something on which we are taking powers. There will be a further consultation on that point because it did not come under the scope of the original consultation. We will have the powers to require notification of vapes to the MHRA.

The other point that has been raised by a few colleagues is, “How do we help under-18s to stop smoking?” Under the MHRA, there is licensed nicotine replacement therapy, which is licensed for 12 to 18-year-olds. Of course, all under-18s can go to their local stop-smoking services.

To the point from the hon. Member for York Central about whether young people should be able to access vaping as a quit aid, my instinct would be, “No, absolutely not,” and I think that that would be her instinct also. However, I must slightly correct the record: it is certainly not the Government’s position that vaping is in any way safe; it is merely less harmful than smoking. I would reiterate that if you don’t smoke, don’t vape. And children should never vape, so they should not be turning to vaping, even as a quit aid. In my view, that would also be the thin end of the wedge, because people would simply say, “Well, I am only vaping because I am trying to stop smoking.” I cannot imagine that ever being a suitable way to help children to stop.