Councils call for total ban on disposable vapes by 2024


Councils call for total ban on disposable vapes by 2024

Local councils in England and Wales have called for a ban on disposable vapes, citing concerns about litter, fire hazards, and appeal to children.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for a ban on these single-use devices by 2024, highlighting the staggering 1.3 million vapes discarded each week in the UK, and that they pose a fire risk due to their lithium batteries.

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) opposes a ban on disposable vapes, arguing that they are a less harmful alternative to smoking and can help smokers quit. The UKVIA also says that disposable vapes are recyclable, and that the LGA’s concerns about litter could be addressed through education and better waste disposal practices.

The anti-smoking charity ASH also opposes a ban on disposable vapes, arguing that it would drive the market underground and make it more difficult to regulate. ASH instead favors higher taxes on disposable vapes and stronger controls on import and sales.

The debate over disposable vapes is likely to continue, as there are strong arguments on both sides of the issue. It is important to weigh the potential benefits and risks of disposable vapes carefully before making a decision about whether or not to ban them.

Rising Popularity and Environmental Consequences: Disposable vapes, packaged in bright plastic casings and offering a few hundred puffs of nicotine-containing vapor with various flavors, have gained significant popularity, particularly among Chinese brands. Figures from NielsenIQ reveal that nearly 300 million e-cigarettes, including disposables, were sold in the UK over the past year, with Elfbar and Lost Mary accounting for over half of that number—an increase of more than four times compared to the previous year. This surge has led to a litter problem, with discarded vapes creating an environmental challenge.

Fire Hazards and Safety Concerns:
Aside from their environmental impact, disposable vapes pose a significant fire hazard due to their inclusion of small lithium batteries. When crushed or damaged, these batteries can increase in temperature, potentially leading to fires in waste collection vehicles. The LGA warns that this risk poses a danger to both waste management personnel and the general public, highlighting the need for urgent action to address this issue.

Appeal to Children and Marketing Ethics:
Concerns have also been raised about the appeal of disposable vapes to underage individuals. Councils fear that the fruity flavors, bubble gum varieties, and colorful packaging of these devices could attract young users, promoting nicotine addiction. Consequently, calls for restrictions on the marketing and display of disposable vapes, similar to those imposed on traditional tobacco products, have emerged. The advertising of these products is seen as unvetted and unscrupulous, further exacerbating the issue.

Balancing Public Health Benefits and Risks:
While local councils acknowledge the potential public health benefits of vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking, they argue that disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed and unsustainable. The UK Vaping Industry Association contends that these products contribute to reducing smoking rates in the UK by offering affordability and accessibility to smokers looking to quit tobacco. However, concerns persist over the environmental impact and safety hazards associated with their usage and disposal.

Calls for Action and Diverse Perspectives:
The LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board Chairman, Councillor David Fothergill, supports an outright ban on disposable vapes, considering it more effective than attempts to improve recycling practices. Conversely, the anti-smoking charity ASH opposes a ban, emphasizing that it could fuel the illegal market, making these products more accessible to children. ASH suggests higher taxes on disposables and stronger controls on import and sales as alternative strategies to mitigate the issue.

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