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Government Announces Anti-Vape Steps

Government sets out its next steps to create ‘smokefree generation’ that includes capitulating to an emotive argument rather than relying on research evidence

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The government has launched a public consultation on youth vaping as part of measures to clamp down on vapes being promoted to children. When it comes to vaping, the steps put forward by Rebecca Pow, Steve Barclay, and Rishi Sunak, capitulate to emotive arguments to ban and about flavours and colours rather than relying on the bounty of research evidence.

The Government says: “People of all ages are being invited to take part in a public consultation seeking views on plans to crack down on youth vaping by reducing the appeal, affordability and availability of vapes to our children.

“The consultation launched today (Thursday 12 October) is open to anyone, of any age, in the UK and includes proposals to restrict child-friendly flavours and bright coloured packaging. People have eight weeks to share their experiences and opinions and help shape future policy on vaping and smoking.”

Last week, the Prime Minister unveiled plans to ban disposables, limit vape packaging colours and ban certain e-liquid flavours, “in a bid to create the first ‘smokefree generation’.”

Rishi Sunak expressed his “concerns about the worrying rise in vaping among children, with youth vaping tripling in the last three years and one in five children having now used a vape.”

The Government states: “Views on these proposals are now being sought from everyone, including the public, the retail sector, clinicians and medical professionals, public health stakeholders, academic experts, employers and trade unions.

“The consultation has generated widespread support right across the four corners of the UK, with the Welsh government, Scottish government, and the Northern Ireland Department of Health all giving it their backing and agreeing to a joint consultation.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Last week I promised to create the first smokefree generation and I am wasting no time to deliver on that promise.

“Our ambitious plans will reverse the worrying rise in youth vaping while protecting our children from the dangerous long-term effects of smoking as quickly as possible.”

The proposals:

  • Making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products
  • Restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes “so that vape flavours are no longer targeted at children – we want to ensure this is done in a way that continues to support adult smokers to switch
  • Regulating point of sale displays in retail outlets so that vapes are kept out of sight from children and away from products that appeal to them, such as sweets
  • Regulating vape packaging and product presentation, “ensuring that neither the device nor its packaging is targeted to children
  • Considering restricting the sale of disposable vapes, which are clearly linked to the rise in vaping in children. “These products are not only attractive to children but also incredibly harmful to the environment
  • Exploring further restrictions for non-nicotine vapes and other nicotine consumer products such as nicotine pouches
  • Exploring whether increasing the price of vapes will reduce the number of young people using them
  • Introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and vapes

The first problem they are overlooking is that while most vapes used by teens are disposables, they are invariably illicit black market vapes that will not be impacted by price rises, flavour restrictions or outright bans – they are already illegal.

The second problem the government is ignoring is that repeated studies have shown that where disposables and flavours have been banned, there has been a marked increase in black market activity and teen smoking rates.

The Government disagrees, it says the proposals are, “backed by concrete evidence following the department’s youth vaping call for evidence.”

The Youth vaping call for evidence analysis doesn’t contain any evidence, just opinion, about flavour bans and restricting packaging.

Responding to the Open Consultation:

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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