April 17, 2024

The United Kingdom, on Monday (Jan 29) is likely to announce plans to ban the sale of disposable vapes in a bid to curb youth vaping. The measures will also include making vaping less appealing to children by imposing restrictions on vape flavours. 

UK government’s plan

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government has sought to introduce a country-wide ban on vapes due to the health challenges it poses. This comes after his administration said that it also intends to introduce a law preventing younger generations from buying tobacco. 

“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,” said Sunak, in a statement. 

The measures will also include restricting sweet and fruity flavours which are used to target underage sales and a requirement for plain packaging for vapes or e-cigarettes, to change how they are displayed in shops. 

“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,” said the UK PM. 

Sunak is expected to discuss these measures in detail during a visit to a school on Monday.

The recent move also comes as part of the wider response to a public consultation on smoking and vaping which has led the UK government to plan some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking measures. 

Last year, Sunak’s government announced a plan to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, in an attempt to create a “smoke-free generation”. 

The latest measures to make vaping less appealing to children are expected to come into effect towards the end of this year or early 2025, reported The Guardian. 

Notably, it is already illegal to sell any vape to anyone under 18, in the UK, but the government said disposable vapes are a “key driver behind the alarming rise in youth vaping”. 

Health concerns

Smoking is the UK’s biggest preventable killer, causing one out of four cancer-related deaths, or some 80,000 a year, said the government. 

According to recent figures, there has been an alarming rise in the number of children using vapes in the UK, including nine per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds now using them. The number has tripled in the last three years or so. 

Additionally, the number of 11 to 17-year-olds using disposable vapes has increased almost nine-fold in the past two years or so. 

Meanwhile, the UK Vaping Industry Association argues that vapes pose significantly lower health risks than tobacco, and flavours were key in encouraging smokers to switch.

However, doctors are concerned about the unknown effects of the long-term health impact of vaping on young people and their developing respiratory systems, not to mention nicotine addiction. 

The government says that along with the health benefits, the ban on disposable vapes would also reduce the massive impact it has on environment since five million vapes are thrown away each week. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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