UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)
UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) describes itself as the ‘’country’s leading forum for supporting, developing and promoting the £1bn vaping industry’’ and was established in September 2016. John Dunne, Director of UKVIA and Managing Director of E-Liquid Brands, has stated that UKVIA represents “the independent vaping sector, alongside the vaping brands of the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.’’ UKVIA has links to the tobacco industry, and to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping (E-Cigarettes).
- 1 Relationship with the Tobacco Industry
- 2 Linked to All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (E-Cigarettes)
- 3 UKVIA Events Sponsored by Tobacco Industry
- 4 Lobbied Government to Use Vaping as Cessation Tool
- 5 Promoted Vaping to Public
- 6 Opposed to Additional Tax on Vaping Products
- 7 Lobbied Against International Vaping Regulation
- 8 TobaccoTactics Resources
- 9 Relevant Links
- 10 Notes
Relationship with the Tobacco Industry
Direct Links to Tobacco Companies
Since it was established in 2016 UKVAI’s membership has consisted of small independent e-cigarette manufactures and the four major tobacco companies: Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI), and Imperial Tobacco, which was a full member by 2019, replacing their subsidiary Fontem Ventures (see image 1).
Board Members of UKVIA also hold senior positions at tobacco companies:
- Stephen Knowles is the Regulatory Affairs Manager at BAT and was previously its Regulatory Engagement & Legal Executive (2016 – 2017). From 2013 to 2015, Knowles was a Political Researcher in Public Relations for Ian Paisley Jr, a Member of UK Parliament (MP).
- Chris Aikens joined JTI as Government Relations Manager in September 2017. Prior to this he worked in the House of Commons in various supportive roles to David Gauke MP, James Morris MP and Brandon Lewis MP. (Lewis is a member of the Free Enterprise Group an “association of free-market orientated” Conservative MPs.)
- James Barrow joined PMI as External Affairs Lead in March 2018, where he promotes the company’s smoke-free products.
- Zoe Walker-Cleave joined Imperial Tobacco in 2012 as UK Public Policy Manager. In 2015 she became Head of Government Affairs “covering Next Generation products in addition to traditional tobacco policy”.
Indirect Links to Tobacco Companies
In March 2019 it was reported that, JUUL Labs had joined UKVIA. JUUL Labs Inc is a San Francisco-based e-cigarette company, 33% owned by tobacco giant Altria, and whose e-cigarette brand JUUL has received national media attention and criticism for appealing to children. Dan Thomson, Managing Director of JUUL Labs UK said that a “crucial” reason for joining UKVIA was its new “code of conduct’’, requiring retailers to use the ‘’Challenge 25’’ age identification system (currently used for alcohol purchases) in stores, and have an age verification system in place for online sales.
Linked to All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (E-Cigarettes)
Since September 2017 UKVIA has operated as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes, which changed its name in January 2019 to APPG “for Vaping”. The APPG has been criticized for accepting funding from the tobacco industry via UKVIA.  For more information see All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping (E-Cigarettes).
UKVIA Events Sponsored by Tobacco Industry
In 2018 UKVIA hosted its first conference called ‘Going for Growth’, with PMI, Logic (a JTI brand), and blu (an Imperial brand) listed as “Support Sponsors”.
Mark Pawsey MP, Chair of the APPG and Keynote Speaker of this event, said that UKVIA had ‘’a real opportunity to take advantage of the progressive attitude of our government and public health community to shape a bespoke regulatory regime for the future of the vaping industry’’. Pawsey chaired a session on the “regulatory landscape” where Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs said Brexit was an opportunity for the UK government to change the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), calling it an “easy win”. Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns at The Freedom Association, which has often supported tobacco industry campaigns, also contributed.
Two other MPs led panel discussions. Gareth Johnson MP, vice-chair of the APPG, chaired a session on “whether the tobacco and pharmaceutical’s historic legacy will hinder their involvement in the vaping market”. According to one attendee “much of the session involved the tobacco-industry representatives (British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International) trying to explain how they could convince smokers and public health bodies to trust their research given the distrust built up in previous years”.
Norman Lamb MP, chair of House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee (at the time conducting an enquiry into e-cigarettes), chaired a session on “Bolstering public health evidence on vaping”, which was addressed by Gerry Stimson, a sociologist who promotes a harm reduction approach to public health and has links with the tobacco industry.
The second UKVIA Forum, in May 2019, listed BAT, Logic and blu as “supporters”. UKVIA described the event as being ‘’dedicated to capturing the public health prize of vaping’’ and listed speakers/panellists including Mark Pawsey MP, Chris Snowdon, and Martin Cullip. Cullip was listed as representing the New Nicotine Alliance (a charity promoting vaping as a form harm reduction).
Lobbied Government to Use Vaping as Cessation Tool
UKVIA have actively lobbied the UK government on vaping policy. They are not currently listed on either the UK government’s voluntary Register of Consultant lobbyists, or the UK Lobbying Register run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Gave Evidence to Science and Technology Select Committee (2018)
After UKVIA’s 2018 conference, Director Dunne reported that Norman Lamb MP was ‘’so convinced by the arguments raised… he immediately arranged for us to give formal evidence in Parliament a fortnight later’’. UKVIA gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on 9 May 2018, and the Select Committee report was submitted to government in August that year. At the inquiry Dunne argued that there should be “a fully evidence-based regulatory framework’’ and that the industry should participate more in the process of implementing regulations relating to vaping products. He also said that advertising restrictions are a barrier to the uptake of vaping, and that UKVIA is concerned that the ‘’public health message is not getting out there in an efficient and effective manner’’.
When asked whether there was a role for “heat-not-burn products” in quitting, Dunne replied that UKVIA did “not have a view on that, because we are a vaping organisation”. However their four main tobacco industry members all have Heated Tobacco Products in their product portfolios.
Hosted Report Launch in Parliament
In November 2017 UKVIA published a report by the APPG for E-Cigarettes called ‘State of the Vaping Nation’. UKVIA organised a launch reception in the House of Commons, with Norman Lamb MP promoting the report alongside Pawsey and Dunne, a month after the Select Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes was announced. The APPG report urged Government to consider adopting a more lenient policy towards vaping. Pawsey argued that: ‘’There is no doubt that the current mixed messages surrounding vaping are creating a confusing picture’’. In its coverage of the report launch UKVIA placed some of the blame for this confusion on “alarmist news headlines” and “‘junk science’”, a phrase that does not appear in the APPG report but has long been used to attack academic research.
Promoted Vaping to Public
In March 2018 UKVIA and Mark Pawsey launched an awareness campaign called ‘VApril’, outside the Houses of Parliament, to encourage smokers to switch to vaping. John Dunne, Director of UKVIA, stated that ‘’VApril marked a milestone for the vaping industry in the UK’’.
In 2019, ‘VApril’ was again launched by UKVIA, this time outside the Houses of Parliament and with the doctor and TV personality Dr Christian Jessen as the figurehead for a “nationwide education campaign”. Jessen had also been at the 2018 event, featured in a UKVIA leaflet promoting vaping as a tool for quitting smoking, and was listed as Keynote Speaker at the UKVIA 2019 conference.
Opposed to Additional Tax on Vaping Products
In August 2018 multiple stories appeared in the UK media claiming that the UK Government was considering a “sin” tax on vaping products to help fund the NHS. UKVIA wrote to the Treasury claiming that such a tax would risk damaging public health and that it conflicted with government stop smoking policy. In response the Treasury stated that ‘’we have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products’’.
Lobbied Against International Vaping Regulation
UKVIA have said that it supports “a responsible and fair regulatory framework”, but objects to the EU putting tobacco and vaping products in the same category. At its 2018 conference UKVIA stated that it would be lobbying for changes to the TPD and advertising regulations “to allow the full public health potential of vaping products to be realised”.
In September 2018, just before the eighth session of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Conference of the Parties in Geneva, UKVIA lobbied the WHO, along with Vape Business Ireland and 14 other vaping organisations from around the world as co-signatories.. Their aim was to get the WHO to reverse its “decision to invite bans and restrictions on vaping”, and to recognise vaping as “part of an effective harm reduction strategy’’. A UKVIA representative said that it was “keen to work with the WHO to ensure that its policy decisions at the Geneva congress reflect the evidence and good common sense.”
- British American Tobacco
- Japan Tobacco International
- Philip Morris International
- Fontem Ventures
- All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping (E-Cigarettes)
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Who We Are, UKVIA website archived page, undated, accessed March 2019
- Science and Technology Committee, Oral evidence: E-cigarettes, HC 505, House of Commons, 9 May 2018, accessed April 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Annual Report 2016-17, undated, accessed April 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Annual Report, 2017-18, undated, accessed May 2019
- Philip Morris International, Participation in Business and Trade Associations, 2016, accessed April 2019
- N. Dunand, UK Big Tobacco as a defender of the vaping industry, but which one?, Vaping Post, 1 December 2016, accessed April 2019
- EU Transparency Register, Fontem Ventures, undated, accessed March 2019
- S. Knowles, LinkedIn Profile, undated, accessed March 2019
- Register of Interests of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants (as at 20 February 2014), UK Parliament website, accessed April 2019
- Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (as at 12 October 2016): Mental Health, UK Parliament website, accessed April 2019
- C. Aitken, LinkedIn Profile, undated, accessed April 2019
- About: Welcome, Free Enterprise Group website, undated, accessed May 2019
- J. Barrow, LinkedIn Profile, undated, accessed March 2019
- Z. Walker-Cleave, LinkedIn Profile, undated, accessed March 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Vaping Giant JUUL joins the UK Vaping Industry Association, UKVIA press release, 12 March 2019, accessed April 2019
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- UK Vaping Industry Association, Code of Conduct, UKVIA, undated, accessed April 2019
- Vape Business Ireland (VBI), Members, VBI website, undated, accessed April 2019
- Scottish Grocers Federation, Corporate Members, SGF website, undated, accessed April 2019
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- A. Allison, UK Vaping Industry Association Forum, The Freedom Association website, 25 April 2018, accessed March 2019
- Parliament members chair at London vape conference, Vapor Voice Magazine, 24 April 2018, accessed March 2019
- House of Commons, E-Cigarettes Inquiry E-cigarettes, Seventh Report of Session 2017-19, Science and Technology Committee, 16 July 2017, accessed April 2019
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- House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, E-cigarettes, Report of Session, 16 July 2018, accessed May 2019
- All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes, State of the Vaping Nation, UKVIA website, September 2017, accessed April 2019
- JBP, JBP client UKVIA supports All-Party Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes report launch in the House of Commons , JBP website, 22 November 2017, accessed March 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, All-Party Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes report launched in House of Commons, UKVIA website, 21 November 2017, accessed March 2019
- House of Commons, E-cigarettes inquiry launched, Select Committee announcement, 25 October 2017, accessed April 2019
- S. Knapton, MPs behind controversial e-cigarette report criticised vaping lobby, The Telegraph, 17 August 2018, accessed March 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Parliamentarians call on Government to keep promoting the health benefits of vaping in the wake of Public Health England’s successful advertising campaign, UKVIA website, 1 November 2017, accessed April 2019
- All-Party Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes, State of the Vaping Nation, UKVIA website, September 2017, accessed April 2019
- J. M. Samet, T. Burke, Turning Science Into Junk: The Tobacco Industry and Passive Smoking, American Journal of Public Health, 2001, 91(11):1742-1744
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- UK Vaping Industry Association, MP’s kick off ‘VApril’ with call for vaping in parliament, UKVIA website, 29 March 2018, accessed April 2019
- UK vaping sector launches April awareness campaign, Talk Retail, undated, accessed March 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, Vape to break the smoking habit, UKVIA website, undated, accessed April 2019
- S. Stevenson, Tories plan to hit 2.9million with VAPE TAX to raise extra £40million for NHS, Express, 2 August 2018, accessed March 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, UKVIA opposes a vaping ‘sin’ tax on vaping, UKVIA website, 2 August 2018, accessed April 2019
- J. McDonald, U.K. Government Considering a Sin Tax on Vapes?, Vaping360.com, 2 August 2018, accessed April 2019
- UK Government Considers Taxing Vaping Products, Totally wicked eliquid.co.uk, 2 August 2018, accessed April 2019
- P. Sweet, Plans for vaping ‘sin tax’ under challenge, Accountancy Daily, 8 August 2018, accessed March 2019
- L. Wells, Vaping industry hits back at reports of new tax on e-cigs, Talking Retail, 3 August 2018, accessed April 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, UKVIA receive confirmation from HM Treasury on the proposed ‘sin tax’ for vaping, 22 August 2018, accessed April 2019
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- UK Vaping Industry Association, Memorandum of understanding between global vaping trade associations and campaigners, Press Release, 8 October 2019, accessed May 2019
- Memorandum of understanding between global vaping trade associations and campaigners, UKVIA, undated, accessed April 2019
- UK Vaping Industry Association, World Health Organisation urged to reform vaping stance by industry, UKVIA website, 23 October 2018, accessed May 2019