Rishi Sunak urged to U-turn on UK vape ban | UK | News

- Advertisement -

Rishi Sunak urged to U-turn on UK vape ban | UK | News

Rishi Sunak and Wes Streeting have been warned over plans to mimic Australian policy and force through a ban on disposable vapes.

Australia’s vape policy, intended to curb youth vaping, has been ineffective to date.

A recent Australian secondary students’ alcohol and drug survey found that roughly one in eight 12 to 15-year-olds and one in five 16 to 17-year-olds had vaped in the last month.

Recent reports also estimated that more than 90% of vapes in Australia are from the illicit market.

Theo Foukkare is CEO of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores, and has seen first-hand how the black market has exploded in Australia since its government introduced a series of new measures.

He said: “Australia’s ban looks good on paper but you only have to take a walk down any shopping strip, past a bus stop or the local pub and you’ll see a bunch of people sucking on illegal disposable vapes that they’ve clearly bought from the black market.

“A disposable ban, or any other ban, will only result in pushing up costs, people will end up buying unregulated and poorly manufactured cheap vapes on the black market.

“The black market in Australia will continue to boom unless the Australian Government moves to regulate the sale of strictly manufactured-to-code vapes to people aged 18 and over, just like they do with alcohol and tobacco.

“The black market for vapes in Australia is now worth an estimated $4 – $5billion per annum, plus over $5billion per annum in illegal tobacco

“[Rishi Sunak should] learn from the Australian Government’s mistakes. Prohibition has never worked and is pushing Australians right into the arms of the black market.”

But Mr Sunak insists “strong action” should be taken to stamp out vaping in children. Announcing plans to crack down on single-use vapes, he said: “Children shouldn’t be vaping, we don’t want them to get addicted, we still don’t understand the full long-term health impacts.”

And things could be set to get even worse if the Government follows Labour’s lead in championing a prescription-only policy for vapes that could bring the NHS to its knees.

Labour are considering introducing Australia-style measures to prevent children from accessing vape products, including requiring a prescription to vape, with Wes Streeting saying recently that he was “looking very carefully at what Mark Butler and the Australian Labor government have announced”.

The Australian Labor government introduced a similar law in October 2021, making it illegal to consume e-cigarettes without a medical prescription, which are only accessible to people over 18.

Recent projections released by Australia’s Department for Health and Aged Care estimate the policy will lead to 900,000 more GP appointments this year, based on 450,000 vapers (34% of total vapers) in Australia being expected to consult a medical practitioner twice a year.

In the UK, it is estimated that 4.5 million people vape – 8.7% of the population.

If the UK introduced Australia-style prescription measures, then similar outcomes to those projected in Australia would see 34% of vapers (1.5 million people) using prescriptions, leading to more than three million more GP appointments a year (two appointments per year per person).

This is without taking into account current smokers who might transition to vaping alternatives, which could see this number rise further still.

Mr Foukkare said: “Australia already has a GP crisis where there are simply not enough doctors’ appointments available to service the public and now we have the government forcing anyone who wants to access a vape to go to their GP, get a prescription and then pay $150 for a vape from the chemist.

“What’s even crazier is that the vast majority of pharmacies in Australia don’t stock nicotine vapes.

“A lot of Australians can’t get an appointment, let alone pay $150 for a vape if they’re lucky enough to find a chemist that stocks them, so the vast majority are buying from the black market, which is run by rival crime syndicates that also sell illicit tobacco.”

This increase of over three million appointments comes as Rishi Sunak admits his Government has failed to cut NHS waiting lists, with 7.6 million patients waiting to be seen, according to the latest NHS England data.

With every GP appointment costing the NHS £30, this prescription policy also risks setting the NHS back £90million a year.

Figures also show the cost to the NHS of each doctor’s prescription is £18.35, which means if all vapers were given prescriptions, the NHS would lose a further £55million a year.

This takes the total potential cost of vaping prescriptions to the NHS to £145million per year. That’s enough to fund 4,300 new nurses or 3,200 junior doctors.

Cet article est apparu en premier en ANGLAIS sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1868392/Rishi-Sunak-vape-ban-UK


- Advertisement -