Rishi Sunak to ban the sale of disposable vapes to protect children’s health and stop them from being ‘hooked for life’
Disposable vapes are to be banned in the UK in a bid to protect children’s health and prevent them becoming ‘addicted for life’, the government will announce today.
The number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years, driven by disposable devices that come in a range of bright colors and enticing flavours.
Figures show that 9 percent of children between the ages of 11 and 15 now vape, with the long-term health impacts still unknown.
But today Rishi Sunak will reveal a plan to bring in new legislation, using existing powers under the Environmental Protection Act, during a visit to a school.
The number of children using vapes has tripled in the last three years (stock image)
The disposable vape ban is part of the government’s response to its consultation on smoking and vaping, which was launched in October last year (stock photo)
The measure is expected to come early next year, with the hope that it will stop the trend of vaping among children.
The Prime Minister said: ‘As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise of vaping among children, so we need to act before it becomes endemic.
‘Although vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, the marketing of vapes to children is not acceptable.
‘As Prime Minister I have an obligation to do what I think is the right thing for our country in the long term.
‘In addition to our commitment to prevent children turning 15 or younger this year from ever being legally sold cigarettes, these changes will leave a lasting legacy by protecting our children’s health for the long term.’
In a package to crack down on sales, powers will also be introduced to restrict fragrances marketed specifically at children and to ensure manufacturers produce simpler packaging.
Current flavors include pink lemonade, pineapple ice cream, triple melon and cherry cola, which are offered in a range of bright colors.
NHS Digital data, based on the survey of smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England for the year 2021, showed that 30 per cent of children in Yorkshire and the Humber had used a vape
Vapes will be required to be displayed out of sight, and new ‘on the spot’ fines will be introduced for shops illegally selling vapes to children.
It will tie in with the Government’s ‘smoke-free generation’ plan, which will see new laws banning the sale of tobacco products to those born on or after 1 January 2009 – meaning any child who turns 15 this year will never legally smoke cigarettes will not be sold.
However, former prime minister Liz Truss said the government ‘shouldn’t try to expand the nanny state’.
She added: ‘While the state has a duty to protect children from harm, adults in a free society should be able to make their own choices about their own lives.
“Banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or later would create an absurd situation where adults enjoy different rights based on their date of birth.”
The disposable vape ban is part of the government’s response to its consultation on smoking and vaping, which was launched in October last year.
Nearly 70 percent of teachers, parents, health professionals and the general public supported the measure.
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said: ‘The health advice is clear, vapes should only ever be used as a quit smoking aid.
“But we are committed to doing more to protect our children from illegal vaping by minors, and by banning disposable vaping, we prevent children from being hooked for life.”
Tests on e-cigarettes confiscated from young people have found they contain dangerous levels of lead, nickel and chromium. Some were nearly 10 times above safe limits. Exposure to lead can impair brain development, while the other two metals can cause blood clotting
Current flavors include pink lemonade, pineapple ice cream, triple melon and cherry cola, which are offered in a range of bright colors (stock photo)
During a visit to a school, Rishi Sunak will reveal a plan to bring in new legislation, using existing powers under the Environmental Protection Act.
Besides benefiting children’s health, the ban will have a positive impact on the environment.
Five million disposable vapes are thrown away every week, up from 1.3 million last year. In a year, this is equivalent to the lithium batteries of 5,000 electric vehicles.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said the ban would ‘require strict enforcement to be effective as illegal vapes are already flooding the market’.
The government was unable to commit to the timing of legislation, adding that it was trying to ‘align timing across the UK’ but that it was their intention to ‘get it through this parliamentary session’ .
Commenting on the smoke-free generation plan, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: ‘If passed, this legislation will have a major impact on public health for many generations to come.’