In October 2023, UK Prime Minster Rishi Sunak unveiled his government’s plans to introduce new legislations to the tobacco and vaping industry in an effort to stop the start of a new generation of smokers from forming as well as cracking down on youth vaping in the UK.
Whilst this bill of legislation was primarily focused on tobacco and vaping, there was mention of exploring further restrictions on other things such as non-nicotine vapes and other nicotine consumer products such as Nicotine Pouches.
We’re going to take a look at what has been proposed, and why restricting Nicotine Pouches could prove to be a counter productive action and not help the Government reach their “smoke free” ambitions for England.
Rishi Sunak Announces New Legislations for UK
The announcement of new legislations which were proposed by Rishi Sunak has certainly shook things up in the UK, with the future of the tobacco and vaping industry set to change as we know it.
The announcement of a historical new law relating to the legal smoking age is the first change seen in over a decade. Making it illegal for anyone born on or after January 1st, 2009, to buy tobacco products from a shop.
Alongside this new law was the proposals about restricting how vaping products are sold and advertised in the UK. Restrictions on vape flavours and the design of packaging to make them less appealing to children have been included as well as the ban of supply and sale of Disposable Vapes.
But the standout which relates to our industry was the suggestion of exploring further restrictions on “other nicotine products such as Nicotine Pouches.”
This is the first time that a proposal has been made relating to restricting Nicotine Pouches here in the UK and the question has to be asked on whether the UK Government have taken inspiration from other neighbouring countries in Europe that have implemented restrictions on Nicotine Pouches.
Netherlands Ban Nicotine Pouches
Earlier this year in April (2023) the Dutch Government announced that a complete ban on the sale of Nicotine Pouches would be put into force as well as the restriction of all advertisements for tobacco-free nicotine products.
This has been done in a bid to stop nicotine-based products being so appealing and getting into the hands of young people because as Health Deputy Minister Maarten Van Ooijen said:
“Nicotine is addictive and harmful.”
If you’ve followed any of our previous blogs on the site here at Snusmail, you’ll know that we have already busted the myth about Nicotine and used evidence-based facts to explain that while nicotine is highly addictive, it is not harmful.
This ban is a continuation of the already imposed regulations which the Netherlands had on Nicotine Pouches. There was a legal limit on the amount of Nicotine which could be used in Nicotine Pouches, so the ban now just takes things one step further.
It’s hard not to think that what the Netherlands have done has been ignored by the UK Government and they may have drawn inspiration from the Dutch by wanting to restrict non-tobacco nicotine products such as Nicotine Pouches to protect young people, but would this have a positive impact or negative impact?
How Banning Nicotine Pouches Could Have An Adverse Effect
Statistics have shown that Nicotine Pouch usage by adults is on the rise here in the UK, and it’s continued to grow year on year due to more awareness of the product and also availability of the products becoming more abundant.
Whilst the usage levels are not anywhere near what E-Cigarettes usage is like, it’s still something that adults are choosing to try as their preferred method of Nicotine Replacement Therapy if they have given up smoking.
There are even people that have quit vaping and decided to solely use Nicotine Pouches as they may want to get their nicotine fix without having to inhale anything in to their lungs.
The overall objective being achieved here is that they are not smoking cigarettes, and they’re enjoying a no tobacco nicotine option that poses next to no risk compared to what cigarettes do to a person’s health.
If this option was taken away from them and Nicotine Pouches do end up being banned in the UK, it’s going to leave a lot of people in a tricky spot on what to do. If they cannot access what they are relying on to keep them away from cigarettes, then chances are they could revert back to smoking cigarettes.
This would then have the opposite effect on the Government’s goal of England becoming a smoke free country because the smoking rates will start to increase again. It’s understandable that the government want to create a smokefree generation as well as protect young people who are not legal smoking/vaping age from being tempted to try these products.
But any new legislations bought in must have some thought and consideration to those of legal age who may be relying on them to abstain from cigarettes.
We will keep a close eye on any further developments on these legislations and bring you the latest updates here on Snusmail.