UK Moves to Ban Disposable Vapes to Stop Use Among Children

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jan 29, 2024 02:19 AM EST

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to unveil plans on Monday to ban the sale of disposable vapes to prevent their use by children. According to Reuters, the government will also reiterate its intention to implement a law preventing young individuals from purchasing tobacco.

Under the new measure, there would be restrictions on vape flavors, a requirement for plain packaging, and alterations to how vapes, or e-cigarettes, will be displayed to make them less enticing to kids.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Vaping sticks are displayed for sale in a souvenir shop on Oxford Street on July 18, 2023 in London, England.

UK Government to Ban Disposable Vapes

In a statement, Rishi Sunak emphasized the significance of these changes in safeguarding children's health and preventing the sale of cigarettes to individuals aged 15 or younger.

"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 noted.

Smoking has been identified as the largest preventable killer in the UK, causing one out of four cancer-related fatalities or approximately 80,000 deaths yearly.

While vapes are seen as an alternative to help people quit smoking, concerns have emerged regarding their potential to drive nicotine addiction in youths, as 9% of 11- to 15-year-olds are now reported using them. 

Last October, Sunak revealed plans to pass a law that would prevent anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, from buying tobacco for their entire lives. 

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WHO Wants to Ban All Vape Flavors

The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly said last December that all vape flavors should be banned. However, industry organizations and the UK Vaping Industry Association asserted that vapes carry significantly reduced health risks compared to tobacco, and flavors were critical in encouraging smokers to switch to vapes.

Along with the health benefits, the UK government noted that the ban on disposable vapes would also help the environment, with five million vapes thrown away weekly.

"I have an obligation to do what I think is the right thing for our country in the long term," Sunak noted.

"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," he added.

READ MORE: Denmark Set to Remove 1,000 Crown Banknote From Circulation

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