A major tobacco company took centre stage at the Conservative Party Conference, touting their ‘heat-not-burn’ (HNB) device.
Manufacturers of the devices claim that tobacco can be made safer by heating it to around 350°c rather than burning it, though health bodies are sceptical. Unlike vaping, HNB still requires tobacco, so it is highly unlikely that they will be anywhere near as successful as a harm-reduction tool as e-cigarettes. In fact, there is currently no independently-verified evidence that they are any safer than traditional cigarettes.
One of the representatives at the Conference was a former Tory adviser who had previously worked with David Cameron’s government.
Vaping, meanwhile, was only represented at an Institute of Economic Affairs fringe event.
James Hargrave, head of public affairs for the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) expressed his disappointment that the ‘the door is closed to us’ when it comes to shaping e-cigarette legislation.
“You wouldn’t look at pharmaceutical industry regulation without consulting the pharmaceutical industry,” he told attendees at the ‘Vaping: Could Brexit be good for our health?’ event.
The tobacco industry has suffered huge setbacks in recent years thanks to continued bad press, toughened regulations and a seismic shift towards a more health-conscious world. But while smoking rates have plummeted, vaping continues to grow. It is likely that HNB is the industry’s attempt to capitalise on the success of vaping while continuing to profit from deadly tobacco.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) previously urged caution on HNB, highlighting Big Tobacco’s reputation for misleading the public regarding the safety of their products.
“Particularly because of the tobacco industry’s long record of deceit over the health risks of smoking, there is an urgent need for independent research into the level of harm these products may cause.”