In a move aimed at addressing concerns over rising youth vaping rates, the UK government has announced a ban on disposable vapes.
However, the Federation of Independent Retailers’ national president, Muntazir Dipoti, warns that this measure may not be effective in kerbing smoking and vaping among young people, suggesting that it could instead fuel the illicit market.
The Federation of Independent Retailers represents more than 10,000 independent retailers and small businesses across the UK and Ireland.
Concerns raised over potential risks of banning disposable vapes
Dipoti expressed reservations about the ban, stating that it might push young people towards unregulated sources and markets, where products could contain dangerous and illegal levels of toxic chemicals.
Dipoti suggested that an outright ban may not be the solution and proposed alternatives such as increasing financial resources for educational campaigns and enhancing enforcement, especially at borders to prevent counterfeit products.
Government announces comprehensive strategy to tackle youth vaping
In addition to banning disposable vapes, the UK government plans to introduce new powers to restrict flavours marketed at children and ensure less visually appealing packaging.
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To tackle underage sales, fines for shops selling vapes illegally to children will be increased. The government also aims to outlaw vaping alternatives such as nicotine pouches for children.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak highlighted the need to act against the rise in youth vaping, emphasising the long-term impacts of vaping on health.
Environmental impact considered with proposed disposal scheme
As part of its broader strategy, the government plans to address environmental concerns related to disposable vapes.
UK Environment Secretary Steve Barclay claimed that disposable vapes contribute to a significant and growing stream of hard-to-recycle waste.
A proposed disposal scheme, similar to a deposit return scheme for single-use drinks containers, is suggested to better manage the environmental impact of these products.
To summarise, the government’s comprehensive approach includes banning disposable vapes, restricting flavours, introducing heavier fines for illegal sales, and addressing environmental impact.
Sunak stressed the importance of protecting children’s health in the long term, aiming to create the first smoke-free generation through these measures.
While aligned with the government’s goals, some independent retailers maintain that the strategy employed to reach them is faulty.