All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping (E-Cigarettes)

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes was set up in November 2014.123 This Group is not related to the APPG on Smoking and Health, which was founded in 1976.4

By January 2019 the group had formally changed its name to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping,5 “to prevent confusion between cigarettes and vaping”.6 Its stated aim remained: “To explore the most appropriate parliamentary and regulatory response to e-cigarettes and to raise education and literacy amongst policy makers regarding e-cigarettes and related public policy questions.”5

Terminology used to describe e-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS) varies. Some terms, including “vaping” have the effect of distancing these products from conventional tobacco.7 For more information, see the page on Product Terminology.

The APPG was set up by Mark Pawsey, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Rugby, who intended the APPG to “examine and scrutinise this rapidly growing e-cigarette industry exploring the benefits the devices could have for people looking to quit smoking”.1 Pawsey added:

“I believe that stricter regulation is required to ensure that all e-cigarette devices, products and liquids are safe but I do not support regulating the industry out of existence. In the last year many of my constituents have contacted me to say that without e-cigarettes they would not have been able to give up smoking so I think more work must be done in order to establish what role they can play in helping more people quit using tobacco.”1

In 2019 the APPG was criticised for taking funding from the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), which has tobacco industry as members and on its board, rather than holding the industry to account.8 As a result the former Chair of the committee for standards in public life, Sir Alistair Graham, called for a review of the rules governing APPGs “to prevent lobbyists from buying influence at the heart of Government”.8 Mark Pawsey defended the involvement of UKVIA, saying that the relationship was “transparent” and that “The MPs and Peers on the APPG shape its agenda”.8

APPG Officers

The APPG for Vaping Officers, as of July 2022, were:9

Chair: Mark Pawsey MP (Conservative). Pawsey has been a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee since March 2020.

Vice Chairs:

  • Mary Glindon MP (Labour).
  • Adam Afriyie MP (Conservative).
  • David Jones MP (Conservative).
  • Andrew Lewer (Conservative).
  • Mark Jenkinson (Conservative).

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Image 1 – Screenshot of UKVIA’s website, accessed April 2019, showing tobacco industry members

Tobacco Companies Involved in APPG’s Secretariat

From November 2016 until 2020, UKVIA operated as Secretariat for the APPG.10 UKVIA’s membership is made up of small independent e-cigarette companies and the four main transnational tobacco companies: Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI), and Imperial Tobacco, which replaced its subsidiary Fontem Ventures as a member in 2019 (see image 1).11 All four were represented on the UKVIA board in 2019.12 JUUL Labs, an e-cigarette company in which American tobacco company Altria owns a 35% share, became a member in 2019.13

Concerns were first raised in 2016 about the close relationship between the APPG and UKVIA.14 Between 2015 and 2019 the APPG declared ‘benefits in kind’ from the organisation of between £66,000 and £74,00015 which was spent on running the APPG and its events.8

UKVIA is not listed on the UK government’s voluntary Register of Consultant Lobbyists, the UK Lobbying Register  (run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations) or the EU Transparency Register. 16

As of 3 May 2019 APPG meeting minutes, detailing attendance and activities, were not available.17 The APPG did not appear on the Parliamentary register between January and July 2020.  From August 2020, UKVIA was no longer listed as the contact point on the Parliamentary register (see below) and its relationship with the APPG for Vaping was unclear.18 The public enquiry point for the group was now listed as Mark Pawsey’s office.19 In September 2020, UKVIA’s website stated that “The APPG is currently undertaking a review of its future direction”.20

For more information on UKVIA see our page UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)Previously, the APPG’s secretariat was run by London-based public affairs consultancy Abzed, which was paid by the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) and tobacco company JTI to act as the Group’s secretariat.821

Members Took Hospitality from Japan Tobacco International

Three members of the APPG have accepted tobacco industry hospitality in the past.

Pawsey, Chair of the APPG, attended a Rugby World Cup 2015 match in September, courtesy of JTI UK (owner of e-cigarette brand E-lites). A few months later the MP praised e-cigarettes in UK Parliament.2223 Whilst JTI’s hospitality, worth £1,650, was declared in the Register of Member’s Interests24 it was not declared to the House of Commons ahead of Pawsey’s pro-e-cigarette comments.24

Glyn Davies MP, prior to his membership of the APPG, accepted Chelsea Flower show tickets worth £1,404 from JTI in May 2014.25

Stephen Metcalfe MP, in 2017 the APPG’s Treasurer, took hospitality from JTI in 2011. He too accepted tickets and hospitality to the Chelsea Flower show, at the time worth £1,132.80.26 Metcalfe left the APPG in 2017 and joined the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee which submitted a “controversial” report on e-cigarettes to the government in August 2018.27282930

Our page on Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians lists other MPs who have also taken gifts and hospitality provided by tobacco companies.

Pawsey, Davies and Metcalfe voted against the introduction of tobacco plain packaging legislation in 2015.31

Provided Lobbying Platform for Industry

The APPG has provided a platform within Parliament for the UKVIA and its tobacco industry members.32

Promoted Vaping in Parliament

In November 2017 UKVIA published the APPG’s report “State of the Vaping Nation”, which referred to “misinformation” and “mixed messages” on vaping research and regulation, and argued that vaping helps to reduce smoking rates.273334 The report was launched at a reception in Parliament3334 attended by Norman Lamb MP, chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which had announced an enquiry into e-cigarettes a month earlier.35 At the reception Lamb said he had been “horrified” at the EU’s decision to regulate vaping products.27

According to UKVIA’s e-bulletin of 31 July 2018, Mark Pawsey MP, Sir Kevin Barron MP and Adam Afriyie MP all said at an APPG meeting on 11 July 2018 that they “would support reform to the e-cigarette elements of the Tobacco Products Directive”.36 However the meeting’s minutes only record Barron’s comments in relation to the TPD.37

Since 2010, Afriyie has been Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 38(Parliament’s “source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public-policy issues”)39 which produced a briefing on e-cigarettes in 2016.40) He told the APPG meeting in July 2018:

“welcomed some big tobacco companies’ recognition that “the end of smoking in the UK” was near, and that they should work towards replacing cigarette sales with e-cigarette and e-liquid sales. He suggested that big tobacco would not mind if taxes on cigarettes continued to increase, as long as they could be sure that they could safely invest in a less hostile vaping market.”37

According to the UKVIA website, an APPG meeting was due to be held on 11 September 2018 to discuss “the UK’s preparations for COP8”41 (the 2018 meeting of the Conference of the Parties, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)’s governing body). Later that month, UKVIA released a statement urging the WHO to reverse vaping bans, and regulate e-cigarettes separately from “traditional combustible tobacco products”.424344

For more information on UKVIA lobbying the WHO, see UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)

A second report by the APPG on “Vaping in Workplaces and Public Places”, was launched in November 2018,845 recommending that employers should allow vaping in the workplace. It also proposed that the Houses of Parliament should become “vape friendly” as an “example”.4546 The work for this report appears to have been planned at a meeting of the APPG held the previous December, attended by Andrew Allison, head of campaigns at The Freedom Association; Martin Cullip, a pro-tobacco blogger; and MPs, including Ian Paisley Jr MP.47

At this meeting Afriyie challenged the precautionary principle in relation to vaping saying: “how in this case it could cost lives as the harms of smoking where [sic] already known”.48

Afriyie became a Vice Chair of the APPG in December 2021, replacing Viscount Ridley.4950 In a parliamentary debate in March 2022,  he referred to a report shared with him by UK think tank Demos on the future regulation of e-cigarettes, but did not say that this was funded by e-cigarette company JUUL.51 For more information see JUUL Labs.

Allowed BAT to Launch Scheme in Parliament

In February 2019 trade magazines Talking Retail and The Grocer reported that BAT used an APPG meeting to promote their age verification scheme called “BAT Verify” and announce a “whistleblowing hotline” to report retailers selling e-cigarettes to under-18s. BAT reportedly had also used the meeting as an opportunity to suggest that the Department of Health should engage more with the industry.5253

Opposed “sin tax” on e-cigarettes

In August 2018, Mary Glindon argued against introducing a ‘sin tax’ on e-cigarettes.5455

Campaigned for e-cigarette stores to be reclassified as “essential” during the Covid pandemic

In January 2021, Pawsey echoed calls from UKVIA that e-cigarette stores should remain open during lockdown.  He argued: “vape retailers do not just provide the tools for harm-reduction, but also the expert advice and support which empowers consumers to make a positive change.”56

Set Up COP Inquiry Website

In late 2020, the APPG created a website called

The website stated that:

“The purpose of this APPG for Vaping Inquiry is to collect evidence and issue a report on the FCTC’s Conference of Parties 9.”

The website listed 5 objectives,58 and stated that the APPG would hold two evidence sessions.59 It invited submissions from a range of stakeholders, including the tobacco industry, by 1 February 2021,59 stating:

“We will still carefully consider all consultation responses from the tobacco industry and from those with links to the tobacco industry and include them in the published summary of consultation responses.”59

As of March 2020, submissions from the following organisations were among those available on the website:60

Japan Tobacco International | JUUL Labs | UKVIA | International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) | Adam Smith Institute | Christopher Snowden, Institute of Economic Affairs | Reason Foundation |

The Federation of Philippine Industries, which has tobacco company members including PMI and JTI, made a submission.6061 There was also a submission from the Northern Luzon Alliance which stated that it was a “group of forty-eight (48) lawmakers from the tobacco growing provinces in the Philippines”.60 This group has previously opposed tobacco control measures in the country.6263

The consultation report acknowledged oral contributions to the evidence sessions by Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords in addition to number from individuals and organisations. These oral contributions included submissions from the tobacco industry-linked Martin Cullip of New Nicotine Alliance, John Dunne of UKVIA, Daniel Pryor of Adam Smith Institute, and Gerry Stimson of Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC).64

The consultation report accused the WHO of undermining a policy proven to help people stop smoking, by refusing to acknowledge that vaping is safer than smoking. The report listed a number of recommendations and stated that the UK should consider its options in relation to future funding to the WHO and the WHO FCTC, and to consider withdrawing funds if the WHO continues to discourage this form of smoking cessation. It also recommended the UK be required to include proponents of harm reduction in its delegation to the FCTC COP9, and to encourage other member states to include tobacco harm reduction public health experts in their national FCTC COP delegations.64

In 2022 Pawsey referred to submissions citing the “over regulation” of e-cigarettes, but did not say whether any came from tobacco companies or their allies.65

Inquiry into UK Tobacco Harm Reduction

The APPG for Vaping published a report on ‘UK Tobacco Harm Reduction Opportunities Post-Brexit’, in July 2021. The report stated that in its call for evidence the APPG welcomed submissions from industry.  After referring to WHO’s FCTC  Article 5.3, which states that public health policy making must be protected from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry, the report went on to say that it is “evident that industry players need to be part of the solution to this problem and challenges we face in striving to reach our Smoke-Free 2030 ambitions”. The enquiry received submissions from British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris International, Swedish Match, JUUL Labs and UKVIA.66

The report called on the UK government to “diverge from, and improve on, the transposed EU regulations” and advocated for nicotine pouches, heated tobacco products and snus to be used as smoking cessation tools. It also recommended that nicotine levels in e-liquids should be increased, limits on bottle and tank size should be removed and rules regarding non-combustible tobacco advertising should be relaxed.66

  • For details on how the tobacco industry uses the concept of harm reduction to further its commercial interests, see the page on Harm Reduction.

APPG members lobbying for other products

In March 2021, David Jones argued in a Westminster Hall debate that the ban on snus should be lifted in the UK and that it should be used as a smoking cessation tool. 67 In January 2022, Pawsey argued in the media that the UK government should consider enabling the use of snus and “heat-not-burn non-combustible devices” (heated tobacco products) to “help smokers quit tobacco”.65

In March 2022, Afriyie stated in parliament that the UK government should work more closely with the tobacco industry.68 In an article in The House, published the next day, he argued for a “multi-category approach” including “heat-not-burn” products and nicotine pouches.69 In the parliamentary debate Afriyie also referred to snus, which is banned in the UK and EU outside of Sweden.6870 For details see Swedish Match.


TobaccoTactics Resources

Another APPG with tobacco industry links: All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on illicit trade

Relevant Links

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