The government has announced plans to ban disposable vapes as part of efforts to address the increasing number of young individuals taking up vaping. Additional measures will be implemented to prohibit the marketing of vapes to children and to curb under-age sales. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has suggested that the proposed ban would not hinder adult smokers seeking alternatives like vapes to quit. The ban is anticipated to apply across the UK, with disposable vapes, often sold in smaller, more vibrant packaging than refillable ones, identified as a significant factor contributing to the surge in youth vaping, according to the government.
Statistics from the Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) charity indicate that 7.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds now vape regularly or occasionally, a notable increase from 4.1% in 2020. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, while announcing the plans on Monday, emphasized the need for “strong action” to eliminate vaping among children, expressing concerns about potential addiction and the yet unknown long-term health impacts. The UK Vaping Industry Association argued that vapes have been instrumental in helping millions of adults quit smoking and stay off cigarettes. They cautioned that the proposed measures could put children at risk by fueling the black market.
Mr. Sunak proposed that the plans strike a balance by limiting access for children while ensuring that adult smokers attempting to quit still have access to alternatives like vapes. While vaping is considered significantly less harmful than smoking, the NHS notes that its long-term risks are not fully understood, given that vaping has not been in existence for a sufficiently extended period.