Monday, 15 April, 2024
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UK to ban disposable vapes

The British Government is moving to ban disposable vapes as part of plans to tackle the rising number of young people adopting the habit, and introduce measures to prevent the devices being marketed at children and to target under-age sales.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said adult smokers trying to quit the habit would still have access to alternatives, like vapes, under the proposals.

BBC reports it is already illegal to sell any vape to under-18s, but disposable vapes – often sold in smaller, more colourful packaging than refillable ones – are a “key driver behind the alarming rise in youth vaping”, according to the government.

The Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) charity says 7.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds now vape regularly or occasionally, up from 4.1% in 2020.

However, the decision is being opposed by various bodies, with the UK Vaping Industry Association saying vapes had helped “millions of adults quit and stay off cigarettes”, and that the proposals would put children at risk by “turbocharging the black market”.

Vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, but it has not been around for long enough for its long-term risks to be known, said the NHS.

The inhaled vapour can still contain small amounts of chemicals that are found in cigarettes, including nicotine – which is addictive but not seen by the health service as one of the most problematic ingredients in cigarettes.

The proposals follow last year's announcement of a ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 as part of an attempt to create a “smoke-free generation”.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told the BBC she was confident the new Bill on vapes would pass Parliament by the time of the general election – expected to be this year – and come into force in early 2025.

Retailers would then be given six months to implement it.

Campaigners have long argued that disposable vapes are wasteful and that the materials and chemicals used to make them, including their lithium batteries, make them difficult to dispose of safely.

The latest changes would also introduce powers to stop refillable vapes being sold in a flavour marketed at children and to require that they be produced in plainer, less appealing packaging.

The UK has joined a small group of countries planning to ban disposable vapes: Australia, France, Germany and New Zealand have all announced similar plans, although only New Zealand has so far implemented them.

Some will argue Britain’s plans still don’t go far enough. There have been calls for a tax on e-cigarettes to bring them in line with tobacco, while Australia has made vapes available only by prescription.

 

BBC article – Disposable vapes to be banned for children's health, government says (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Australia bans ‘public health threat’ vapes

 

Ban flavoured vapes, says EU as as e-cigarette use rises

 

Australia bans disposable vape imports

 

Philippines bans e-cigarettes, threatens arrest for users

 

The latest vaping laws and regulations around the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

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