UK £1bn vaping industry ‘targets children’ with cartoons and kiddy flavours

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The UK vaping industry has been accused of targeting products at children by using cartoon packaging and flavours that resemble fizzy drinks to ‘hook teenagers into addiction’, writes Bryony Jewell for the Daily Mail.

Although e-cigarette liquids cannot be sold to anyone under 18, some of the colourful packaging used by companies appears to be aimed at a younger audience.

Several online retailers have been found to sell products that sound as if they could just as easily be found in the sweet aisle of a supermarket.

Some of these names which could appeal to children include Dinner Lady Strawberry Custard and Sparking Ice Orange Juice, reports the Sunday Times.   

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, said: ‘These products are the vaping equivalent of alcopops and clearly designed to hook teenagers into an addiction.

‘I would question what adults wouldn’t be satisfied with all the products available already that don’t have these quirky candy cane sweet names.’

Website Ubervape advertises Tuck Shop products next to a picture of sweets spilling out of a jar while five brightly coloured bottles are presented under a banner reading ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’.

The product listing for the Tutti Frutti e-liquid says: ‘Dinner Lady – Tuck Shop E-liquids attempt and succeed in creating flavours that will remind you of your favorite childhood candies’.

The UK Vaping Industry Association told MailOnlinethat ‘flavours play an important role in incentivising smokers to switch to vaping’ and are a ‘key component of keeping vapers off smoking’.

E-liquid products sold on the website were also branded as the ‘vaping equivalent of alcopops’ by Mrs Gidley.

The owner of the company behind the website is British American Tobacco (BAT), which recently acquired the site that sells E-Fizz and Dinner Lady products.

The company said that it has removed e-liquids manufactured by third parties from the website pending a review, reports the Sunday Times.

The Dinner Lady brand also told the Sunday Timesthat it ‘delivered the best product while ensuring the safety of children’.

Pharmacy chair Mrs Gidley said: ‘It’s a real hornets nest. The vaping industry isn’t going to change its packaging or product names unless it is told to do so in legislation.

‘We think the products are safe but we can’t say for definite what the long term implications are.’

Vaping products must be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The e-cigarette liquid brands that were on the MHRA list last week included Jelly Babies, Snowy Candy Bears and Jam Doughnuts.

A spokesperson for the UK Vaping Industry Association said: ‘There are already strict regulations in place in the UK on selling or marketing vaping products to under 18s. All of our members comply with the law.

‘Fortunately recent research from Action on Smoking and Health demonstrates that youth use of vaping products is very low, with just 2% of youths using vaping products at least weekly.

‘Flavours play an important role in incentivising smokers to switch to vaping, which Public Health England recognises as at least 95% less harmful than smoking.’

A spokesperson for Ubervape said: ‘Products such as Candy King and Dinner Lady’s are, in my opinion, intended for nostalgia purposes. Their flavours are reminiscent of younger times of enjoyment.

‘There is only really one variant that separates e-liquids and that is the flavour. One of the essential ingredients is vegetable glycerine (VG) which is naturally sweet, which means sweet based flavours are essential.

‘With just the difference of a flavour to chose from, images illustrating the flavour and ingredients are essential.

‘I personally don’t think the intent behind a lot of these brands is to appeal to children. It’s to catch the eye of the consumer in an incredibly competitive market.

‘We certainly have not marketed any of our brands to appeal to minors and we strictly prohibit the sale, of all our products at Ubervape, to under 18s.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco products, and have been clear that e-cigarettes are not harmless.

‘That’s why we have laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, and local Trading Standards seize products when they are in breach of tobacco control legislation.’

MailOnline also contacted for comment.

Britain’s £1bn vaping industry ‘is targeting children’ with cartoon character packaging and flavours that resemble fizzy drinks and sweets

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