The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates has recently issued a position statement calling for pragmatic, risk-proportionate regulations on disposable vapes. These regulations should focus on two key areas: availability and regulation of disposable vapes, and recycling requirements for retailers.
Firstly, disposable vapes should be made available to adult consumers as part of a comprehensive tobacco harm reduction strategy. However, strict age restrictions must be enforced on the sale of these products, along with mandatory product registration, to minimise the risk of misuse and youth access. By ensuring that only individuals of legal age can purchase disposable vapes, we can maintain a responsible and transparent market while providing a less harmful alternative to combustible tobacco.
Secondly, retailers selling disposable vapes must be legally required to participate in a recycling scheme for these devices. A deposit system at the point of sale can be implemented, incentivising the return of used devices, and reducing the likelihood of underage individuals collecting and returning devices for cash. This will not only promote responsible disposal practices among consumers but also help reduce the environmental impact of disposable vapes.
As a New Zealand public health consumer advocate and executive coordinator of CAPHRA, I urge the Governments and Ministry of Health to act now. We cannot afford to wait any longer, as the potential benefit of disposable vapes in tobacco harm reduction efforts are too significant to ignore.
World Smokefree Day serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive and effective regulation of disposable vapes. By implementing age restrictions, product registration, and recycling requirements, we can ensure that disposable vapes are accessible to adult smokers seeking less harmful alternatives while minimising potential risks associated with these products.
Let us work together to create a smokefree future where disposable vapes play a responsible and effective role in tobacco harm reduction.
This was an Op-Ed submitted to Planet of the Vapes by The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates