By Declan Carey, Local Democracy Reporter
Vaping is set to be restricted in Rochdale under new plans to tackle concerns that children are buying them under age, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has reported.
Rochdale Council confirmed that it is consulting with headteachers and leaders around the borough on how to make schools and play areas free from vaping.
It comes after Salford Council announced plans this month to ban smoking and vaping outside schools and in park playgrounds as a result of high nicotine rates in the area.
Cllr Daalat Ali, Labour’s deputy leader and Rochdale’s portfolio holder for health, told the LDRS that the council is preparing to enforce similar rules in Rochdale.
“We are aware of the problems [of vaping] and we are on to it, we have something in the pipeline. We are not as far ahead as Salford but we are heading that way,” he said.
While vaping is used by some as a tool to quit smoking, it has caused problems in Greater Manchester and other areas of the country, leading to health officials in Rochdale to issue a warning earlier this year about the dangers of children and non-smokers using vapes.
The government is looking at measures to tackle single-use vapes according to reports, with the prime minister poised to launch a ban of disposable vapes as well as introduce laws which would raise the age requirement to buy cigarettes, effectively phasing them out completely for anyone born after January 1, 2009.
Rochdale Conservatives told the LDRS that they would back a national plan to ban disposable vapes altogether, and people should only be only to use them in areas where smoking is also permitted.
Cllr Rina Paolucci, the council’s shadow portfolio holder for health, said: “We are concerned about the effects of any smoking and particularly throw away vapes, these should be banned for everyone.
“Vaping should be discouraged and it should be illegal for under 18s to purchase them. As a starting point, vapes should only be allowed wherever smoking is permitted.”
In August hundreds of illegal vapes were seized in the borough by GMP Rochdale’s ‘Complex Safeguarding Team’ (CST) and Rochdale Council’s trading standards department.
The growing problem led to a call from Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd to ban single-use vapes altogether, after he blamed vape manufacturers for targeting young people.
Rochdale’s director of public health, Kuiama Thompson, explained that the use of vapes is growing in Rochdale and there is a need to take action to protect children and residents.
“We are keen to support the use of vapes as a quitting tool for smokers. However, we are concerned about the prolific use of illegal vapes, and the growing use of vapes amongst children and non-smokers,” she said.
“Over the summer, trading standards seized 13,500 non-compliant vapes, carried out 90 test purchases, of which 20 were found to be non-compliant. This confirms the need to take action to protect residents, particularly children.
“We have introduced a communications campaign, highlighting the dangers of illegal vaping. We are also working with local schools and are in consultation with head teachers and other stakeholders to make our schools and play areas vape free and to look at other ways of raising awareness and protecting young people.”
(Local Democracy Reporting Service)