To address the surge in youth vaping and protect children’s health, the United Kingdom is banning the sale of disposable vapes.
“I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes — which have driven the rise in youth vaping — and bring forward new powers (measures) to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Monday in a press release.
Additionally, the U.K. government says that vaping alternatives like nicotine pouches will also be banned from being sold to children, and it will start fining shops for selling vapes to children.
Although the new measures are not anticipated to take effect until next year, the government states that the primary motivation for implementing these actions is the significant rise in youth vaping, predominantly attributed to the popularity of disposable vapes.
While it’s currently illegal to sell vapes or tobacco to those under the age of 18 in the U.K., the government says that in the last three years, the proportion of children using vapes has tripled, with 9% of 11- to 15-year-olds now using them; and in the last two years, the number of 11- to 17-year-olds using disposable devices has increased nearly ninefold.
“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,” said Sunak. “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.”
The government says that adults will still be allowed to use vapes as a tool to quit smoking.