Disposable vapes to be banned in England, Scotland, and Wales.
It was announced by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on the 19th of January 2024, disposable vapes are to be banned, to tackle the significant increase in the young population vaping and perceived negative health effects. The plan also involves packaging design and flavour restrictions, in attempt to make the products less appealing for children.
Why has the ban been introduced?
This announcement is by the government in response to the smoking and vaping consultation, launched back in October 2023. It aims to bring about the first smoke-free generation, with the future intent to introduce legislation to make the selling of tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009, illegal.
Recent figures from the Action on Smoking and Heath charity state the proportion of children aged 11-17 using disposable vapes have seen a nine-fold increase over the past few years. With reports from the NHS of 40 children hospitalised due to vaping-related illnesses, it has now become inevitable that the rules for disposable vape manufacturers and retailers are going to change.
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said, “The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.”.
What does this mean for the environment?
With potential for late 2024 or early 2025 implementation the ban will not only reduce the number of young children vaping, but also help to lessen the impact of disposable vapes on the environment. A shocking 5 million disposable vapes are disposed of each week in the UK, and it is estimated only 17% of consumers recycle them correctly, with the rest lost to incineration or landfill. Disposable vapes are extremely wasteful containing valuable lithium batteries and other recyclable materials like metals and plastic, which are expensive and challenging to recover.
The government has declared that local authorities will be able to impose fines for shops in England and Wales that illegally sell vapes to those who are under-aged, with a maximum fine of £2,500.
In order to guarantee the success of the plan to ban disposable vapes, the government stated there will be a £30 million funding package to support enforcement agencies in enforcing the upcoming measures, allowing illegal sales of disposable vapes to be brought to a halt.
Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have also agreed to introduce bans of disposable vapes. . The UK joins other countries such as Australia and France who have already have plans to ban disposable vapes.
Author: Charlotte Nicholson, Skipton Girls High School