FEATURE The politics of it all Four Essential Moments from the Tobacco Control Plan Debate By Leo Forfar On July 20, eight MPs in the House of Commons debated the Tobacco Control Plan, just over one year since its introduction. The strategy was put forward last July in the form of a four-point plan. It seeks to bring about: • Cutting the smoking rate amongst young people from eight percent to three percent or less, and adults from over 15 percent to 12 percent or less. • Cutting the smoking rate in pregnancy from over ten percent to six percent or less by the end of 2022. • Improving data collection for smoking and mental health whilst making mental health sites smoke-free by 2018. And most importantly, backing evidence-based innovations to support quitting, e-cigarettes included. So, what were the key takeaways from this session for vapers and businesses? 62 | VM19 1 MPs are aware that vaping has had a positive influence. Rother Valley Labour MP Sir Kevin Barron received particular commendation from industry advocates for his strong pro-vaping stance. Sir Kevin highlighted both the increasing institutional support for e-cigarettes from public health bodies and their increasing vindication via scientific research. “Since the plan was published, Public Health England has published an updated evidence review of e-cigarettes showing the growing evidence that vaping is less harmful than smoking and has the potential to support thousands more people to become smoke free,” he said. Sir Kevin also derided the unfair treatment vaping has been getting in the press. “It is very unfortunate that sensationalist media reports are creating an air of uncertainty around e-cigarettes and deterring many smokers from making the switch.” Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, proudly called Britain’s ongoing commitment to tobacco control consistent and non-partisan and gave an explicit endorsement for giving e-cigarettes greater institutional support. “The best evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are helping thousands of people to quit and that they are particularly effective in the context of a smoking cessation clinic,” he said.