Single use vapes set to be banned over child addiction concerns

Disposable vapes come in sweet and fruity flavours and are often placed near sweets or the front counters of shops

Joe Middleton
Tuesday 12 September 2023 05:31 BST
Related: Experiment shows vaping is less harmful than smoking

Single-use vapes look set to be banned by the government after concerns that children could become addicted to them.

The move could come as early as next week as health ministers decided the products are overwhelmingly aimed at people under the age of 18.

Disposable vapes come in sweet and fruity flavours, such as pink lemonade and gummy bear, and are sometimes placed near sweets or the front counters of shops.

The decision to ban single-use vapes will be revealed in a consultation released by the Department of Health and Social Care next week, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

Appearing on Sky News on Tuesday morning, science minister Michelle Donelan did not confirm a ban but said the government would be making “further announcements on this”.

She said: “We have been looking into this and doing a review because this is a very worrying trend that we’re seeing.

“Young children are taking up vaping who have never smoked before and it is extremely dangerous to their health and well-being and it is something we do need to act on. And as a government what we are trying to do is recognise what are the key challenges.”

Australia has already banned all forms of vaping, unless you have a prescription and France also has plans to ban disposable vapes.

It comes just a week after research from recycling campaign group Material Focus showed that the number of disposable vapes thrown away has quadrupled to five million per week over the past year.

More than seven million single-use vapes are bought every week in the UK - double the amount bought in 2022.

Reports say ministers are drawing up plans to ban disposable vapes to help protect children (Irina Kashparenko/Alamy/PA)

However, only 17 per cent of people correctly recycle their vapes in a shop or local recycling centre, Material Focus said.

Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, a non-profit organisation which campaigns to increase recycling rates, said the problem of single-use vapes has got “out of control”.

Research carried out by the organisation found 73 per cent of UK vapers say they throw away single-use vapes, with 33 per cent of 16 to 18-year-old vapers admitting to disposing of their vapes in a bin at their place of education or work.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils and local authorities, has previously called for an outright ban on disposable vapes by next year.

Councillor David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “Councils are not anti-vapes, which are shown to be less harmful than smoking and have a place as a tool to use in smoking cessation.

“However, disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.

“Single-use vapes blight our streets as litter, are a hazard in our bin lorries, are expensive and difficult to deal with in our recycling centres. Their colours, flavours and advertising are appealing to children and the penalties for retailers selling them don’t go far enough.

“Councils urge the government to take this action to protect our planet, keep children safe and save taxpayers money.”

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has previously said: “The key points about vaping (e-cigarettes) can be easily summarised.

“If you smoke, vaping is much safer; if you don’t smoke, don’t vape; marketing vapes to children is utterly unacceptable.”

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