Vaping News

Ban Consequences Remain Unknown

The government remains clueless as to the impact of the disposable vape ban on adult ex-smokers who may return to tobacco use

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Government minister Andrea Leadsom was asked by Adam Afriyie MP whether she had completed a risk assessment of vapers returning to smoking in the event of a disposable vape ban. Despite the possibility of many ex-smokers relapsing, Leadsom and the Department of Health have no clear understanding of what their ban might trigger.

Adam Afriyie, the Conservative MP for Windsor, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what estimate has been made by the Department of the number of adult vapers that may return to tobacco products as a result of the disposable vapes ban.

Andrea Leadsom, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, told him: “The health advice on vaping is clear, vaping can play a role in helping adult smokers to quit, but if you don’t smoke, don’t vape, and children should never vape. However, youth vaping has tripled in the last three years, and one in five children have now used a vape. We know that disposable vapes have played a significant role in this rise, with 69% of 11 to 17-year-olds who vape now using disposables, compared to just 7% in 2021. Disposable vapes also cause significant environmental harm, with five million disposable vapes thrown away every week.”

No one knows why she does this. It’s almost as if repeating certain mantras help her to summon Satan’s hordes or something – it certainly isn’t about answering a question succinctly.

The Impact Assessment on the disposable vape ban,” she continued, “states that it is difficult to quantify the number of people switching either between different types of vapes, disposable to reusable, switching from vaping to smoking cigarettes, or stopping vaping or smoking altogether, as a result of a ban on disposable vapes.”

Difficult? Or they simply didn’t want to spend money and time putting a number to the amount of ex-smokers who will take up smoking again because of their flawed law?

Leadsom pointed out that reusable and refillable vapes will still be available for adult smokers to use as a quit aid. 

The UK Vaping Industry Association commented: “Given that smoking represents a death sentence to around half who are unable to quit, it is clearly imperative that restricting access to the most effective quitting tool is not taken lightly. However, despite the fact that nearly a third of adult vapers use disposables (ASH, 2023), the Government’s impact assessment concluded that the number who might return to vaping was ‘difficult to quantify’ and so the issue will essentially be ignored, as will the potentially fatal consequences.”

Dr Sarah Jackson recently published research looking at who would be affected by a disposable vape ban. She said: “1.2 million people who currently smoke and would benefit from switching to e-cigarettes completely, and a further 744,000 who previously smoked and may be at risk of relapse.”

The research said that it was important to support disposable vapers to swap to a different kind of vape instead of returning to smoking. Plus, they found that disposable vapes are more commonly used by those in lower socio-economic classes and those with mental health conditions. 

While banning disposables might seem like a straightforward solution to reduce youth vaping, it could have substantial unintended consequences for people who smoke.”

Predicting outcomes is often difficult to quantify, UKVIA says, but where there is risk you would hope the Government assesses it correctly. This will become increasingly important as the Government looks at further vape restrictions such as on flavours. As a survey conducted by Evapo recently showed, as many as two thirds of vapers may return to cigarettes if the Government restrict vape flavours.

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  • Room Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

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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