Trade bodies in the vaping sector have warned that a ban on single use vapes as a measure to stop the use by children will be counterproductive, accelerating the black market and missing the smokefree targets.
The government is reportedly considering banning the disposable vapes as an option in a consultation on the issue of children accessing and using e-cigarettes. The ministers, however, would not propose the Australian model of banning all vaping without a prescription, The Telegraph report said.
The consultation is expected to be launched next week, but it could be postponed, the report added.
Commenting, John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), said: “It’s important to point out that this is about a consultation and that no decisions have been made on the future of disposable vapes.
“We welcome the idea of a consultation on disposables as it’s key that the industry gets the opportunity to highlight the benefits, and therefore continued need, for single use vapes as a smoking cessation method.”
Marcus Saxton, chairman of the Independent British Vape Trade Association, said: “The concerns about young people accessing vapes from retailers who break the law are valid. There is a suite of existing regulations that should be properly enforced with greater funding to those agencies, and it is difficult to envisage how a complete ban would be workable.
“Alternative refillable and rechargeable products are available, and we need to see greater uptake of the recycling facilities available on every high street. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that for adults, single use vapes are important to the initial quit journey away from smoking due to their ease of use. The government have targets to be smoke free by 2030, and it’s difficult to see how banning a whole category supports that.”
Dunne echoed the view: “A ban is not the answer. Some 220 people die from smoking every day, 365 days a year. Disposables have proved to be highly effective in helping smokers quit their habits due to their ease of use, accessibility and low entry price points. They are one of the main reasons as to why the number of adult smokers in Great Britain have hit record lows for the last two years according to the Office for National Statistics.”
Dunne said the vape industry has always acknowledged that the issues of youth vaping and environmental impact of vapes need to be tackled, and suggested measures like increased enforcement, hefty fines, retail licensing and national test purchasing schemes, and adopting a set of packaging, labelling and flavour name guidelines.
“There is also overwhelming evidence that vape bans lead to black markets in the sale of such products and increased smoking rates, putting smokers and vapers at significantly more risk of harm across the world,” he added.
“The black market already exists in the UK and represents over 50 per cent of the single use market and this would only accelerate with a ban.”