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‘Absolutely not!’: Strong opposition to offering vapes in pharmacies, shows poll

Almost three-quarters of respondents to a C+D snapshot poll have said that they do not think that vapes should be offered in community pharmacies.

Last month, Welsh member of Senedd and Labour MP for Newport East John Griffiths suggested that vapes should be made “only available at pharmacies by prescription as a smoking cessation tool”.

He said that only permitting the use of vapes on prescription through pharmacies was a “possible compromise” between banning vapes altogether and using them as a smoking cessation tool. 

But a C+D snapshot poll conducted earlier this month, which garnered 613 votes, has shown that very few pharmacy staff agree with offering vapes on prescription and the vast majority are against selling the devices in a pharmacy at all.

C+D’s poll, which ran between November 15 and November 18, found that almost three-quarters (74%) thought that “pharmacies shouldn’t offer” vapes at all.

Meanwhile, only 8% of respondents agreed with Mr Griffiths and thought that vapes should “only” be available in pharmacies through a prescription.

Some 9% of respondents were undecided on the issue, while only 8% said that they had “no problem” with offering vapes in pharmacies.

 

“Absolutely not!”

 

Commenting on the poll, lead pharmacist practitioner at Highfield Surgery in Blackpool David Kelly said that the way vapes are currently marketed is an issue.

He noted that vapes often have “neon-coloured fruity flavours clearly targeted at the younger demographic”.

Responding to the question of whether pharmacies should offer vapes, he said “when advertised like this…absolutely not!”

And trainee pharmacy technician at Croydon Pharmacy Maria Luiza Gabara also said that pharmacies should “definitely not” offer vapes.

Another pharmacist respondent highlighted clinical concerns with the long-term effects of vaping. 

They raised concerns around the regulation of vapes, adding that the “side effects are life-damaging for [a] person who experiences lung damage” and that the “maintenance cost” for damaged lungs is “high”.

“They shouldn’t be available to buy from anywhere,” they stressed.

 

“Potential future ban”

  

Meanwhile, new health minister Andrea Leadsom said last week (November 23) that the government is “consulting on a range of proposals to tackle the rise in children vaping”, including “a potential future ban” on single-use vapes.

She was responding to MP Kwasi Kwarteng who asked “whether [the health secretary] plans to ban single-use disposable vapes”.

Ms Leadsom highlighted that the government consultation into “creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping” is set to close on December 6.

The government plan “to create a smokefree generation” was published on the same day as the consultation (October 12). 

It involves using “a core specialist team of advisors” and trained professionals such as “pharmacy staff” to “engage with specific smoking populations that typically do not access” smoking cessation services. 

The government response to the consultation will be published “shortly after” December 6, Ms Leadsom said.

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