The paper, A Vapid Solution: Why banning disposable e-cigarettes would be a failure of law-enforcement says the government should instead enforce existing laws against underage vaping.
It says vaping has helped millions of people quit smoking and a ban on disposable e-cigarettes would take away that safer choice.
The paper highlights that:
- 35 per cent of adult vapers use disposables and a ban could result in some returning to smoking cigarettes.
- 7.6 per cent of 11-17 year olds are current e-cigarette users, while four in five have never used an e-cigarette.
- Cigarette use among people aged between 11 and 15 has dropped from four per cent to just one per cent since 2012.
- 11–15-year-olds are twice as likely to drink alcohol regularly than they are to vape regularly.
UKVIA Director General John Dunne said: “We wholeheartedly endorse the findings of this well-researched and evidence-backed report which warns of the very serious unintended consequences that such a ban could have.
“We need to send a very clear message to the government that a single use (disposable) vape ban could make the problems of youth vaping worse not better and lead to current vapers returning to smoking…a lose-lose situation if ever there was one.
“It is clear that the government is not adequately enforcing the existing vape laws for legal, regulated products but it would be considerably more difficult to police the huge black market which would spring up to take their place.”
Report authors IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon and Communications Officer Reem Ibrahim said: “Banning a product because it is sometimes consumed by people who are already banned from buying it is a poor basis for legislation.
“We do not ban cider just because some teenagers drink it. We do not ban 18 certificate films because some teenagers watch them. We do not even ban cigarettes because some teenagers smoke them.”
E-cigarettes are a highly effective, safe and popular tool for smokers seeking to quit. Snowdon and Ibrahim warn that without their favoured products, a ban could risk some returning to cigarettes and the associated health risks.
The paper also highlights that a ban could result in the proliferation of unregulated and unsafe vaping products on the black market. A recent analysis of vapes confiscated from a school in Kidderminster found that most were already illegal products, with many containing high levels of lead, nickel and chromium.
Snowdon added: “Good laws are seldom made in a climate of hysteria. There are understandable concerns about youth vaping, but the problem would be better addressed by enforcing the laws that already exist than by prohibiting an entire category of e-cigarettes.
“It is too easy for teenagers to buy vapes illegally – and the vapes themselves are often illegal and unregulated. The government should take a calm and rational look at the unintended consequences that could arise from a ban on disposable vapes before banning an effective alternative to cigarettes.”