The Fed has warned that today’s announcement to ban disposable vapes in the UK will not help people give up smoking and vaping but will fuel the illicit market.
National President Muntazir Dipoti said: “While we agree that action is needed to prevent children and young people being attracted to vaping, we do not believe that banning disposable vapes is the way to go about it.”
The ban on single use vapes was announced today (Monday) as the government responded to a consultation it launched in October 2023 on vaping and cigarettes, Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping.
Mr Dipoti warned: “An outright ban will simply send youngsters towards unorthodox and illicit sources where there is no compliance to tobacco and vaping laws, while the products they peddle are likely to contain dangerous and illegal levels of toxic chemicals.
“Disposable vapes are usually more affordable and, as such, are a bigger incentive for adult smokers to change to vapes.”
To clamp down on young people vaping, the government needed to make more financial resources available for educational campaigns, while more enforcement activity was required, especially at borders to prevent counterfeit products entering the market, Mr Dipoti continued.
Meanwhile, the introduction of a disposal scheme – similar to the deposit return scheme being planned for single use drinks containers – would better address the government’s concerns on the environmental impact that these products have.
Mr Dipoti explained: “Vape retailers are responsible and offer a recycling option, but the government should be looking at making available more ways to safely recycle disposable vapes.”
As well as banning disposable vapes, the government has announced that new powers will be introduced to restrict flavours which are specifically marketed at children and ensure that manufacturers product plainer, less visually appealing packaging.
The powers will also allow government to change how vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of sight of children and away from products that appeal to them like sweets.
To crack down on underage sales, the government will also bring in new fines for shops in England and Wales which sell vapes illegally to children. Trading standards officers will be empowered to act ‘on the spot’ to tackle underage tobacco and vape sales. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.
Vaping alternatives – such as nicotine pouches – will also be outlawed for children who are increasingly turning to these highly addictive substitutes.
The government has again reiterated its commitment to bring about the first smokefree generation and introduce legislation so children turning fifteen this year or younger can never legally be sold tobacco.
Announcing these changes, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said: “As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic.
“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.
“As Prime Minister I have an obligation to do what I think is the right thing for our country in the long term. That is why I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes – which have driven the rise in youth vaping – and bring forward new powers to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops.
“Alongside our commitment to stop children who turn 15 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, these changes will leave a lasting legacy by protecting our children’s health for the long term.”
Environment secretary Steve Barclay said: “Not only are disposable vapes often targeted, unacceptably, at children – they also represent a huge and growing stream of hard-to-recycle waste, with nearly 5 million thrown away every week.
“This historic announcement will be a powerful tool in support of our efforts to crack down on waste and boost recycling, as well as helping to create the first smokefree generation.”