When will disposable vapes be banned in the UK? Are they getting banned - when is government banning vapes?

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Vapes are big business - but are they being banned in the UK?

Disposable vapes are set to be banned in the United Kingdom as a measure to address the increasing prevalence of vaping in young people and safeguard the health of children.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is poised to unveil the plans, which will leverage existing powers outlined in the Environmental Protection Act, during a visit to a school on Monday (29 January).

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The move is a component of the government's response to a consultation on smoking and vaping launched in October of last year.

The UK Government, along with the Welsh and Scottish governments, intend to introduce legislation to ban disposable vapes due to their significant environmental impacts, according to the Welsh Government. This includes both nicotine and non-nicotine products.

But when exactly will disposable vapes be taken off shelves? What will be the punishments for selling them, and why have they been banned in the first place? Here is everything you need to know.

What's happening?

New powers will also be introduced to restrict flavours which are specifically marketed at children and ensure that manufacturers produce plainer packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of children’s sight.

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New £100 fines will also be brought in for shops in England and Wales which sell vapes illegally to children. Vaping alternatives – such as nicotine pouches – will also be banned for children.

Trading standards officers will be given powers to act “on the spot” to tackle underage tobacco and vape sales. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.

Some £30 million new funding a year will be provided to bolster enforcement agencies – including Border Force, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Trading Standards – to implement these measures.

Advertising boards promote vaping devices outside a shop in Manchester (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Advertising boards promote vaping devices outside a shop in Manchester (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Advertising boards promote vaping devices outside a shop in Manchester (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) | Getty Images

When will disposable vapes be banned?

The ban is anticipated to take effect by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.

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Vapes should only be used by adults as a tool to quit smoking and they contribute to an extra 50,000-70,000 smoking quits a year in England, the Government said.

As part of the Government’s Swap to Stop scheme, almost one in five of all adult smokers in England will have access to a vape kit alongside behavioural support to help them quit the habit.

Why are disposable vapes being banned?

New data shows the number of children vaping in the last three years has tripled, the Government said, adding that use among younger children is also rising, with 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds now using vapes.

Disposable vapes have been pushing the rise in youth vaping, with the proportion of 11 to 17-year-old vapers using disposables increasing almost ninefold in the last two years, it added.

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Dr Mike McKean, vice president for policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), welcomed the news, saying: “Bold action was always needed to curb youth vaping and banning disposables is a meaningful step in the right direction.

"I’m also extremely pleased to see further much-needed restrictions on flavours, packaging and marketing of vapes, which RCPCH has repeatedly called for."

Under the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, the Government also plans to introduce legislation so children turning 15 this year or younger can never legally be sold tobacco – to bring about the “first smokefree generation”.

The ban also aims to have a positive impact on the environment as five million disposable vapes are thrown away each week, up from 1.3 million from last year.

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Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Not only are disposable vapes often targeted, unacceptably, at children – they also represent a huge and growing stream of hard-to-recycle waste, with nearly five million thrown away every week.

“This historic announcement will be a powerful tool in support of our efforts to crack down on waste and boost recycling."

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