Research: Tobacco and Vapes Bill: RPC Opinion (Green-rated)

Regulatory Policy Committee

April 8
15:23 2024

Tobacco and Vapes Bill: RPC Opinion

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Primary legislation introduced to make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products. A number of vaping policies, including restrictions on vape flavours, regulation of vape packaging and presentation, and regulation of point of sale for vapes, are to be implemented via secondary legislation.

The Department first submitted an IA for scrutiny covering the measures contained in the Bill in November 2023. During the initial review, the RPC determined that the Department had not provided appropriate evidence and justification to support a number of key assumptions made within the quantified analysis for the Smokefree Generation policy. As these proposals will be implemented through the Bill itself, this prevented the RPC from validating the EANDCB for the policy. The initial review also identified that the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA) for the Smokefree Generation policy failed to identify the presence and importance of small and micro businesses (SMBs) across the affected sectors, nor was there sufficient explanation to support the view that there would not be a drop in footfall-related sales for SMBs.

The Department provided a revised IA, responding to those initial concerns, in January 2024. The RPC issued a fit for purpose opinion of the Bills IA on 12th February 2024.

The Department, on 19th March, submitted a revised IA, which now includes an extension of the Smokefree Generation policy to cover Northern Ireland (previously limited to GB only); the provision of an extended power for a nicotine notification system to cover non-nicotine vapes and other consumer nicotine products; as well as the inclusion of evidence not available at the time of the previous submission. The Tobacco and Vapes Bill and its IA was introduced to Parliament on 20th March 2024. The published green-rated opinion assesses this the revised IA as published alongside the Bill.

Published 8 April 2024

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