The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has today announced that the membership of British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Brands, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International has come to an end.
Following a member-wide consultation, the association will not be accepting any new applications for membership by vape businesses wholly/part owned or acquired by tobacco companies in the future. As a result, it will not be accepting any tobacco company funding in the future.
The association said when it was set up seven years ago, it was established to represent the entire UK vape industry, including the e-cigarette operations owned by tobacco brands.
However, it added that it has become “increasingly clear that the interests of the industry would be best served by the association being independent of any involvement or funding from tobacco-owned vape brands,” citing alleged misperceptions about how much funding is provided by the tobacco firms and a desire to work with vape-only companies.
A statement from the UKVIA read: “Firstly, there has been an ingrained external misperception that the association is largely financially supported by tobacco firms. While this could not be further from the truth, it gave the impression in some quarters that the association was synonymous with combustible tobacco, the very market it is trying to eliminate to create a smoke free future.
“Secondly, in order to progress the pivotal role that government sees vaping playing in a smokefree world, there is a need for heightened engagement with a range of key stakeholders including: policy makers, parliamentarians, public health officials and local authorities. The UKVIA’s intention in including tobacco-owned vaping brands in the association’s membership originally was to create a significant movement for change, from tobacco to vaping, partly through their organisations focusing on the production of vapes and reduced harm alternatives.”
However, it acknowledges that it underestimated the impact of restrictions on tobacco companies for the association to engage with some key stakeholders, particularly those in public health.
“In representing vape-only businesses, the UKVIA wants to be fully engaged with key stakeholders across the board as we have the same vision, which is to make smoking history. The association sees this as being a vital step in ensuring that the public health potential of vaping is fully realised and the sector making its fullest contribution to the delivery of the smoke free targets over the next few years to 2030,” they added.