Ban on disposable vapes may not go far enough to stop vaping, minister told

Experts told the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee that the ban could be insufficient without additional measures.

A ban on single-use vapes may be insufficient to tackling the rise in youth vaping, a Holyrood committee has warned.

The Health Social Care and Sport Committee has written to public health minister Jenni Minto to express several concerns on the availability of vapes and the regulations placed on them.

It comes after experts gave evidence to suggest a “worrying rise” in young people using nicotine vapour products (NVPs), with data estimating 10% of 13-year-olds were vaping in 2022, compared to just 1% in 2015.

Public health minister Jenni Mint
Public health minister Jenni Mint.

The Scottish Government is working towards a ban on disposable vapes, which Ms Minto has previously suggested could be enforced by 2025.

The committee letter cites evidence from Dr Garth Reid, public health consultant at Public Health Scotland, who said a ban on disposables was “unlikely” to be successful without a broad range of approaches.

Committee chair Clare Haughey told the minister: “Given the rise in youth vaping and taking account of the evidence it has heard, the committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to consider a ban on single-use disposable vapes, widely viewed as a key driver of increased youth uptake.

“With that said, the committee questions whether such prohibition measures will be sufficient on their own to tackle the increase in youth vaping, or if a broader package of measures will be necessary to tackle other drivers and, as outlined by Dr Reid in evidence, to ensure any legislation to ban disposables is ultimately successful.

The committee also raised concern over the lack of an appropriate mechanism to police illicit NVPs due to a lack of trading standards powers, with the minister urged to outline how it is discussing the cross-border issues with the UK Government.

Ministers were also asked to set out how it will monitor the fast-moving industry and its innovations which could undermine the effectiveness of existing and future regulation.

Last year, committee MSPs also raised concern that children as young as age were engaging in the smoking alternative, with calls for vaping products to be removed from open display.

Jenni Minto said in a statement on Wednesday evening: “We are determined to take action to prevent young people using vapes and becoming addicted – that’s why we launched our recent marketing campaign to inform parents, carers and school pupils of the dangers.

“We are working towards a tobacco-free generation of people in Scotland by 2034 and, as highlighted in our recently published Tobacco and Vaping Framework, we will consider a range of measures, including restrictions on the age of sale.

“After participating in the four-nation consultation on creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping which closed in December, we are continuing to work across the four nations on next steps.

“We will respond to the committee in due course.”

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