Proposals from MPs to use vaping to abate smoking may help boost sales, but retailers need more support through in-store advertising and PoS, RN has been told.

The recommendations to the government were published this month by the Science and Technology Committee in its seventh report on e‑cigarettes. 

The report claims vaping is 95% less harmful than cigarettes, with 2.9 million people having attempted to quit smoking using e-cigarettes. It also says it would help to reduce smoking rates if advertising were allowed to reflect this lesser harm compared to cigarettes.   

UK Vaping Industry Association director John Dunne welcomed the proposals, but urged the government to ease advertising restrictions. He told RN: “The fact MPs are urging government to get behind vaping is giving the category a more positive image and this can help retailers boost sales.

“However, many still think vaping is as harmful as cigarettes, if not more harmful, and the confusion is impeding the category. Public Health England is allowed to say vaping is healthier than smoking, but it doesn’t make sense that brands and manufacturers can’t.

“There will be more opportunities across convenience by raising awareness through the proper PoS material and staff education.”

Raj Aggarwal, of Spar Hackenthorpe in Sheffield, said: “Having big in-store displays would go a long way to boost e-cig sales.”

Imperial Tobacco and Blu also welcomed the proposals. A Blu spokesman told RN: “The suggestions around relaxing current restrictions on vape advertising seem sensible. If invited, we would be pleased to collaborate to ensure any materials are as impactful as possible.”

Meanwhile, Mr Dunne added that retailers could use their store opening hours to differentiate themselves from vape shops. “Vape shops have limited opening hours whereas convenience stores can stay open much longer. This is an area the sector hasn’t capitalised on,” he said.

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