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Tobacco Control Policy in Scotland: A Qualitative Study of Expert Views on Successes, Challenges and Future Actions
Open AccessArticle

E-Cigarettes: A Disruptive Technology? An Analysis of Health Actors’ Positions on E-Cigarette Regulation in Scotland

1
MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Top floor, 200, Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3AX, UK
2
School of Social Work & Social Policy, University of Strathclyde; Lord Hope Building, 141 St James Road, Glasgow G4 0LT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173103
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 18 August 2019 / Accepted: 19 August 2019 / Published: 26 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control: Policy Perspectives)
Concerns have been raised that the divisions emerging within public health in response to electronic cigarettes are weakening tobacco control. This paper employed thematic and network analysis to assess 90 policy consultation submissions and 18 interviews with political actors to examine the extent of, and basis for, divisions between health-focused actors with regard to the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes and appropriate approaches to regulation in Scotland. The results demonstrated considerable engagement in e-cigarette policy development by health-focused actors and a widely held perception of strong disagreement. They show that actors agreed on substantive policy issues, such as age-of-sale restrictions and, in part, the regulation of advertising. Points of contestation were related to the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes and the regulation of vaping in public places. The topicality, limitations of the evidence base and underlying values may help explain the heightened sense of division. While suggesting that some opportunities for joint advocacy might have been missed, this analysis shows that debates on e-cigarette regulation cast a light upon differences in thinking about appropriate approaches to health policy development within the public health community. Constructive debates on these divisive issues among health-focused actors will be a crucial step toward advancing public health. View Full-Text
Keywords: public health; tobacco control; electronic cigarettes; health policy; United Kingdom; Scotland; advocacy; evidence; policy debate public health; tobacco control; electronic cigarettes; health policy; United Kingdom; Scotland; advocacy; evidence; policy debate
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Weishaar, H.B.; Ikegwuonu, T.; Smith, K.E.; Buckton, C.H.; Hilton, S. E-Cigarettes: A Disruptive Technology? An Analysis of Health Actors’ Positions on E-Cigarette Regulation in Scotland. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3103.

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