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Government’s disposable vape ban welcomed by Nottinghamshire councillor amid fears for health of young people

A councillor has said it is “welcome news” disposable vapes will be banned in the UK, but suggested further action is needed to fully combat a threat to young people’s health.

The government said as well as disposable vapes being banned in the UK, measures will be introduced to prevent vapes from being marketed at children.

It is illegal to sell vapes to anybody under the age of 18 but concerns have been raised about cheap, disposable and colourful vapes, which some experts warn are becoming especially popular among young people.

Measures will be introduced to prevent vapes from being marketed at children. Credit: LDRS
Measures will be introduced to prevent vapes from being marketed at children. Credit: LDRS

Announcing the news on Monday, January 29, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “strong action” would be taken to stamp out vaping in children. The ban would be in place by early 2025.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said his party had been calling for the ban for two years.

Disposable vapes are set to be banned as part of plans to tackle the rising number of young people taking up vaping, the government says.

Refillable vapes will still be available and are encouraged by the health service as an effective way to stop smoking.

Gedling Borough councillor and youth worker Henry Wheeler has campaigned on the issue of banning vapes. He said children as young as nine years old are using vapes.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that vapes have “become a fashion accessory”. He questioned the delay in introducing a ban.

He said: “It is welcome news that the law will be tightened but more needs to be done to stop people from gaining access to vapes.

“A bill to ban disposable vapes could be brought in a lot sooner using existing legislation designed to protect the environment.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but there is no date on the ban.

“Vaping is a huge problem within schools from a behavioural point of view.

“It has massive implications for young people’s health and nicotine is hugely addictive.

“Whilst it may help adults that are smokers to pack up, I think what went wrong is public health using vapes to help people stop.

“The vaping industry is making huge amounts of money from disposable vapes and it’s a huge environmental problem as well.”

When asked whether the disposable vape ban goes far enough, Mr Wheeler said: “It needs to be treated in the same way as tobacco in terms of it being out of sight in shops.

“There are so many vape shops around that young people can get them, it is almost marketed directly at young people.

“It’s a massive growing problem with people as young as nine picking up the habit.

“There are more and more cases of collapsed lungs as a result.

“We’re replacing one public health problem with a new problem.”

Current NHS advice says while vaping poses a “small fraction” of the risk of smoking cigarettes, it is not “completely risk-free”, and the long-term health risks are not yet clear.

Last week, outgoing Director of Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council Jonathan Gribbin said he was “very concerned” about vapes being marketed at children.

He said: “Vapes are massively less harmful than smoking. They have a really important role to play in reducing the harmful impacts of tobacco.

“That said, the number of children using vapes has tripled in the last three years [nationally].

“That is a concern. I am very concerned about the marketing to children and young people.”

He added he was “enormously excited” about the government’s proposals for a smoke-free generation.

The policy will make it an offence for anyone born on or after January 1 2009 to be sold tobacco products.

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