UK ban on single-use vapes could ‘flood the market with illegal products’ | Vape

Leading doctors and councilors have welcomed reports that ministers are preparing to ban single-use vapes in the UK, but others have expressed fears a ban could lead to an ‘influx’ of products illegal on the market.

Reports of plans to stop the sale of disposable e-cigarettes come as fears grow over their impact on the environment and the health risks they pose to the large number of adolescents who are getting into vaping.

A government announcement is expected shortly after concluding that single-use vapes are intended for children.

David Fothergill, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said the association was “very pleased” with the news of the proposed ban.

He said: “Single-use vapes are trashing our streets as litter, a hazard in our bin lorries, costly and difficult to manage at our recycling centres. It is important that a ban is put in place quickly. Disposable vapes are an inherently unsustainable product.

Steve Turner, Registrar of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, agreed. He said his colleagues in the British Isles were “really concerned” about youth vaping and that it was an “effective gateway into nicotine addiction and smoking”.

The situation is “a public health disaster” and “children should not become addicted to nicotine,” he said. He added that, if there was no ban, e-cigarettes would have to be hidden in stores and “sold under the same conditions as all other nicotine products”.

However, Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, an environmental charity, fears a ban could lead to “difficult-to-control illegal sales and the establishment of an illegal vaping market.” He said: “If the legitimate industry is banned, then there will be no mechanism to deal with all the operational challenges and costs of illegally sold vapes which present the same challenges. »

Last week, a Material Focus study found that 5 million single-use vapes are thrown away in the UK every week, a fourfold increase from 2022. Butler said if the market went underground, there would be no way to encourage retailers to recycle these products.

Illegal vapes are already a big problem. In June, the Guardian revealed that millions of illegal and potentially dangerous vapes have been seized in the last three yearswith trading standards indicating that this was the “tip of the iceberg”.

Andrej Kuttruf, chief executive of vaping store Evapo, said a ban would be “bad news for all smokers”. Instead, there should be more “controls and limits” regarding “children’s access” and a proper licensing system to dictate who can sell vapes.

“Right now there is no app at all, and that’s why kids are buying them, no one is monitoring them,” he said. “The government has allowed the situation to get completely out of control and a knee-jerk reaction of banning will help the black market to flourish and the products will be unregulated and uncontrolled.”

John Dunne, UK Managing Director Vape Industry Association, said it was important to stress that this was “a consultation” and “no decisions have been made on the future of disposable vapes”. He said a ban was “not the solution”, adding: “Disposable products have proven to be very effective in helping smokers quit their habits. »

He added that vaping bans “lead to black markets for the sale of these products and increased smoking rates, putting smokers and vapers at significantly greater risk of harm across the world.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are concerned about the increase in vaping among young people and the environmental impacts of disposable vapes. That’s why we’ve launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vaping products – and are exploring areas where the Government can go further. We will present our response in due course.

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