UK moves to ban disposable vapes to reduce use by children

The United Kingdom will take steps to ban disposable vapes as it seeks to curb the “alarming rise” in youth vaping throughout the country.

In a statement released ahead of a school visit Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was announcing a new legislative package to ban disposable vapes as part of his commitment “to bring about the first smokefree generation.”

“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,” Sunak said in the press release.

“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.”  

The package would give the government new authority to control the way vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of sight and away from sweets. The government would also be able to restrict certain flavors marketed to children and to restrict visually appealing packaging for children.

The new law will also make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone turning 15 years old in 2024 or younger.

The press release cited data showing the number of children using vapes in the past three years has tripled. Even among 11- to 15-year-olds, 9 percent use vapes, the government said. Disposable vapes, according to the data, have contributed significantly to vape usage — with the share of 11- to 17-year-olds using disposable vapes increasing almost ninefold in two years, the U.K. government said.

“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,” Sunak said in the statement.

“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,” he added.

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