According to the government, proposals to address the growing number of young people who are starting to vape include a ban on disposable vape pens.
Additionally, steps will be taken to target sales to minors and stop vapes from being sold to them.
Under the plans, adult smokers attempting to stop will still have access to alternatives like vapes, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The administration stated that the prohibition would likely be implemented nationwide in the UK.
The government claims that disposable vapes, which are frequently presented in smaller, more colorful packaging than refillable ones, are the “key driver behind the alarming rise in youth vaping,” despite the fact that it is already illegal to sell any kind of vape to anybody under the age of 18.
According to data from the organization Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), 7.6% of adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 vape frequently or occasionally, up from 4.1% in 2020.
When he unveiled the measures on Monday, Mr. Sunak said it was appropriate to take “strong action” to stop youngsters from vaping.
“Children shouldn’t be vaping, we don’t want them to get addicted, we still don’t understand the full long-term health impacts,” he stated.
The UK Vaping Industry Association claimed that by “turbocharging the black market,” the proposals will put children at risk, despite the fact that vapes have assisted “millions of adults in quitting and staying off cigarettes.”
According to Mr. Sunak, the plans found a good middle ground between limiting access for minors and preserving it for adult smokers who are attempting to give up.
According to the NHS, vaping is far less dangerous than smoking, but its long-term hazards are unknown because it has not been around long enough.
Small quantities of chemicals found in cigarettes, such as nicotine—which is addictive but not considered by the health service to be among the most hazardous components of cigarettes—can still be present in the vapour that is inhaled.
As part of an effort to establish a “smoke-free generation,” the plans come following last year’s declaration of a ban on the sale of cigarettes to anybody born on or after January 1, 2009.
The new vape bill is anticipated to pass Parliament by the time of this year’s general election, and Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told the BBC that she was optimistic it will take effect in early 2025.
Retailers will have six months to put it into effect if the timing is established.
Although he criticized the government for what he called a two-year delay in presenting legislation, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stated that he was in favor of banning disposable vapes. The measure might be introduced utilizing already-existing environmental protection laws.
Campaigners have long maintained that disposable vaporizers are hazardous and difficult to properly dispose of due to the materials and chemicals used in their manufacture, particularly the lithium batteries that power them.
The most recent modifications would also grant the authority to prohibit the sale of refillable vapes in flavors targeted towards minors and mandate that they be made in less aesthetically pleasing, simpler packaging.
Additionally, the government will have the authority to order stores to keep refillable vapes out of children’s reach and away from potentially dangerous items like candy.
The government announced that more public input would be held to determine which flavors should be prohibited and how refillable vapes will be marketed.
More sanctions will be applied to stores in England and Wales that are found to be selling vapes to minors unlawfully in an effort to reduce underage sales.
The head teacher at Oldham’s Newham Catholic College, Glyn Potts, stated that something needs to be done to avoid kids from being “bombarded” by “attractive” things in stores and on social media.
Additionally, he stated on BBC Radio 4’s Today program that there was proof that certain vape pens had been modified to include “cannabis derivatives,” which he said may cause young people to become hospitalized.
Children will not be allowed to use vaping alternatives like nicotine pouches, which are little white pouches that are inserted between the gum and the lip. Since the pouches emit nicotine without tobacco, under-18s may currently purchase them lawfully.
Both the Scottish and Welsh administrations declared they would enact prohibitions, either through supporting UK-wide legislation or through legislation in their respective legislatures.
After a breakdown in power sharing, Northern Ireland is still without a devolved administration. However, the Department of Health there stated that being tobacco-free was “a long-standing strategic aim” and that steps would be taken to allow incoming ministers to decide whether to implement the ban.
The UK has joined a select club of nations preparing to outlaw single-use electronic cigarettes. Similar plans have been announced by Australia, France, Germany, and New Zealand, but only New Zealand has carried them out thus far.
There are many who contend that the UK’s preparations are still insufficient. Australia has restricted access to vapes to those with prescriptions, but there have been calls for an e-cigarette tax to level the playing field with tobacco taxes.