“Disposable vapes have become a significant trend in recent years, offering convenience and portability to users. However, the consequences of these single-use devices are alarming. This joint blog will examine the compelling environmental reasons why a ban on disposable vapes is needed, as well as highlighting why their marketing to children is utterly unacceptable,” write the trio.
They repeat the genuine problem that 260 million disposable vapes are thrown away every year and how this poses a credible threat to the environment – as well as creating a visual mess.
But then they veer off into Bloombergesque hysteria by valuing fears about “Cotton Candy” flavours and vapes that look like “keyrings” over what the vast majority of adults use. Oh, and that some disposables are “brightly coloured, neon or glittery”. It’s highly likely that Fothergill, Gittins and Rodwell don’t go out clubbing an awful lot.
They do acknowledge that age verification measures are in place for online purchases “and some retailers not strictly enforcing age restrictions”, but they fail to join the dots that a ban would simply feed this illegality.
They conclude: “However, disposable vapes are inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban remains the most effective solution.”
But it isn’t the most effective solution, said Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) when it warned of “the risk of unintended consequences”.
ASH said: “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.”
ASH wasn’t alone in decrying the LGA’s blinkered call. The Federation of Independent Retailers said: “Banning disposable vapes will fuel illicit sales and will not achieve its aims of reducing littering and reducing their appeal to children.”
The UK Vaping Industry Association’s John Dunne told The Guardian: “It … 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.”
The ban call has also been knocked by the UK’s other trade body. 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.”