ASH UK said it was “sympathetic” to the LGA’s ban demand but added that “the risk of unintended consequences” made such action “too great for us to support a ban.”
The charity continued: “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.”
The Fed echoed ASH’s fears: “Banning disposable vapes will fuel illicit sales and will not achieve its aims of reducing littering and reducing their appeal to children.”
The association’s National President Muntazir Dipoti said: “A ban on single use vapes may, at first, seem like a straightforward, effective way of addressing underage vaping and litter.
“However, like the anti-smoking organisation ASH, we believe a ban would risk ‘turbocharging’ an already booming illicit market.
“Vapes help many give up smoking and are part of life now. If we ban them the black market will become even more active. History suggests it would be optimistic in the extreme to think that prohibition stops people getting hold of products.”
John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association commented: “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.”
Speaking about how vapes had helped him through his first three weeks of quitting smoking, i newspaper’s Kevin Lynch cried out: “God protect us from do-gooders.”
Continuing his rant, he added: “Any rational and reasonable person would say that cigarette smoking is too appealing to children (especially when dope is involved), causes lots of litter with discarded fag ends and packets, and is obviously a fire hazard if a smoker falls asleep or is not careful when getting rid of their waste. Where is the Local Government Association’s stance on this?”
Kevin has now purchased a couple of open system devices to help him continue on his journey but added: “I would not have got here without disposable vapes.”