• May 21, 2024

UKVIA Terminates Tobacco Memberships

 UKVIA Terminates Tobacco Memberships

The U.K. Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has ended the membership of British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International.

Following a member-wide consultation, the association will not be accepting any new applications for membership by vaping businesses wholly/part owned or acquired by tobacco companies in the future. As a result, it will not be accepting any tobacco company funding in the future.

When the UKVIA was initially set up seven years ago it was established to represent the entire U.K. vaping industry, including the e-cigarette operations owned by tobacco brands.

In this period, the association has established itself as a major force in the sector, championing the burgeoning vaping industry across the U.K. Today it’s also held up as a leading voice of the industry across the world.

“However, it has become increasingly clear that the interests of the industry would be best served by the association being independent of any involvement or funding from tobacco-owned vaping brands,” the UKVIA wrote on its website.

The organization attributes its decision to a prevailing external misperception that the association is largely financially supported by tobacco firms. Whilst funding from tobacco-owned vaping brands for the last membership year amounted to less than 4 percent of the total of all UKVIA’s income, according to the group, it gave the impression in some quarters that the association was synonymous with combustible tobacco—the very market it is trying to eliminate to create a smoke free future.

The UKVIA also believes the involvement of tobacco-owned vaping brands limits the organization to engage with key stakeholders, such as parliamentarians, public health officials and local authorities. The group said it has underestimated the impact of restrictions on tobacco companies for the association to engage with some key stakeholders, particularly those in public health.

“In representing vaping-only businesses, many of which are independent firms founded on the back of personal loss of family members as a result of smoking combustible cigarettes, the UKVIA wants to be fully engaged with key stakeholders across the board as we have the same vision, which is to make smoking history,” the UKVIA wrote. “The association sees this as being a vital step in ensuring that the public health potential of vaping is fully realized and the sector making its fullest contribution to the delivery of the smoke free targets over the next few years to 2030.