CVIC

The LGA (Local Government Association) have published a call for disposable vapes to be banned.

The article published on 14th July 2023 claims that the LGA which represents councils in England and Wales is calling for the Government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use vapes by 2024.

You can read the article here – “Councils call for ban of disposable vapes“.

The LGA are pushing for the ban to kick in rapidly as…

“with the EU proposing a ban in 2026 and France rolling out a ban in Dec 2023, there is a risk that as markets close disposable vapes will flood into the UK”

The article states that disposable vapes are a hazard for waste and litter collection and cause fires in bin lorries.

Another issue cited is the impact vaping is apparently having on children. The marketing of vapes with designs and flavours that could appeal for children is causing concern.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board said…

“Councils are not anti-vapes, which are shown to be less harmful than smoking and have a place as a tool to use in smoking cessation.

“However, disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.

“Single use vapes blight our streets as litter, are a hazard in our bin lorries, are expensive and difficult to deal with in our recycling centres. Their colours, flavours and advertising are appealing to children and the penalties for retailers selling them don’t go far enough.

“Councils urge the Government to take this action to protect our planet, keep children safe and save taxpayers money.”

UKVIA Response

The UKVIA (UK Vaping Industry Association) has replied in a press release.

John Dunne – Director General of the UKVIA says…

“While it is important to protect the environment, it is crucial to realise that smoking kills more than 200 UK smokers every day affecting families and loved ones across the country. Most smokers have used, and continue to use, single use vapes to help them quit combustible cigarettes.

“The low price, accessibility and ease of use of these products have played a key role in helping bring the UK smoking rate to an all-time low. A recent report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) concluded that converting smokers to vapers saved the NHS more than £320 million in a single year.

“Experience across the world shows that where blanket bans have been introduced on regulated single use vapes, there is a massive influx of illegal, untested and potentially deadly black-market products which take their place and this is in nobody’s interest.

“It also makes absolutely no sense to call for a ban on disposable vapes while ignoring the much bigger problem of smoking and its related litter which accounts for 68% of all litter in the UK and discarded cigarette butts alone cost local authorities £40 million a year to clean up.

“The negative consequences of these proposals have not been thought through and this also looks like a move by the LGA to support cash-strapped councils who don’t want to invest in the local authority’s waste management capability required to support smokers transitioning to considerably less harmful vapes.

“Smokers pay their taxes for local services, one being recycling, and local government needs to think whether recycling costs are a more important consideration than helping to potentially save the lives of local people through vaping, including disposables, which has huge potential to save local hospitals across the country millions of pounds every year.

“The vape industry is working hard to minimise environmental impact but this is mainly a consumer education issue about how to dispose of used vapes, which overall are evidenced to be highly recyclable. We need vastly more recycling points in city and town centres to make it as easy as possible for people to act responsibly.”

IBVTA Response

The IBVTA (Independent British Vape Trade Association) published their response in a press release quoted below.

“The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling for the Government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use vapes by 2024.

The IBVTA believes an outright ban on an entire category of vape products would be discriminatory. IBVTA members supply single-use vape products for vulnerable adults that would otherwise be smoking, often in projects that are publicly funded. Our concerns about the unintended consequences of an outright ban must also be shared by many people working in frontline local health and wellbeing services.

There is also a more general demand by adults for vapes that are as “user friendly” as cigarettes, as evidenced by just how popular they are among adult smokers who would likely never otherwise have tried vaping. While there are obvious issues surrounding single use “disposable” vapes, they can be a very important “first step” away from cigarette smoking.

Analysis of over six hundred thousand IBVTA member customers shows the average age of purchasers of single use products is 37 and the average age of vapers purchasing so called child targeted flavours is 36. These data are skewed by the strict age verification that IBVTA members carry out. However it is clear that the products are not disproportionately popular with young adults, and are actually very popular among middle-aged adults that would otherwise be smoking.

Sales and proxy sales to children have been illegal for some years now, and there is a link between those who supply illicit product which don’t comply with UK regulations and illegal sales to children. Reputable retailers uphold strict age of sale policies and verify the ages of their customers, as well as the compliance status of the products they supply.

Local Trading Standards enforcement officers have recognised that retailers who do not take care to check that the products they stock are compliant are also less likely to check the ages of their customers. Banning single use vapes would do nothing to discourage these rogue retailers.

Littering of single use vapes must be discouraged, which is why the IBVTA supports our members in encouraging behaviour change of their customers. Consumers can reduce their environmental impact by moving to rechargeable, refillable products. Our members are working on providing more opportunities for consumers to dispose of their single use vapes responsibly, and to ensure the products recovered are recycled.

The IBVTA’s CEO, Gillian Golden, said “Prohibition rarely works, and history tells us the black market will just grow to cover the gap. We recognise the concerns of the LGA and its members. However, we believe there are better ways to tackle the issues of youth access and vape waste. We need to consider approaches that will have less dire consequences for the potential of vaping to continue driving down adult smoking rates.

ASH Response

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) UK have responded with their own press release.

“ASH is sympathetic to calls by the LGA and others to ban single-use disposable e-cigarettes, but the risk of unintended consequences is too great for us to support a ban. Children already find it easy to get hold of illegal vapes, as those selling them have no qualms selling to children, making them all illegal won’t help. The sale of illegal disposable vapes, already large and growing, will be turbo-charged if they are banned. Illegal vapes go under the regulatory radar, they’ve been found to contain all sorts of toxic chemicals banned in legal products, and there’s no way to ensure they’re properly recycled. That’s why ASH supports putting an excise tax on disposable vapes, which could make them much less affordable, while giving much greater powers to Border Force, HMRC and trading standards to control their import, distribution and sale, and to force vape companies to ensure they are properly recycled.”

 

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