Single use vapes could be banned in Scotland, as part of plans to protect public health and the environment unveiled by the First Minister.
Humza Yousaf outlined a commitment to take action to reduce vaping among non-smokers and young people and to tackle the environmental impact of single-use vapes, including consulting on a proposal to ban their sale and other appropriate measures.
There has been growing concern amongst campaigners and health professionals about the increasing popularity of disposable vapes.
Research suggests that almost one in five (18%) of adolescents have tried vapes.
Zero Waste Scotland estimates that up to 26 million disposable vapes were consumed and thrown away in Scotland in the last year, with 10% being littered and more than half disposed of incorrectly.
With millions of vapes littered every year, there is a significant and increasing cost to local authorities through litter clear up and waste management.
Following a request of Scottish Ministers, the circular economy minister and public health minister will meet with counterparts in the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to discuss the findings of recent research and potential policy responses.
After publishing his first Programme for Government, Yousaf said: “Disposable vapes are a threat to both public health and the environment.
“We know that the bright colours and sweet flavours catch the eye of children and young people in particular. The World Health Organisation has said there is evidence to suggest that young people who have never smoked but use e-cigarettes, double their chance of starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes in later life.
“Last year we consulted on restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products. Any action we seek to take will build on the regulations already in place to restrict the marketing, promotion and sale of vaping products to under 18s and the findings will be used to inform the refreshed Tobacco Action Plan.
“On the environment, the evidence is undeniable – from litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which demand action.
“We will be working constructively with retailers and other stakeholders to come up with solutions. While we will be asking for views on a ban, we are also keen to explore other interventions that could have a more immediate impact.
“Of course, this is not just an issue for Scotland – these problems are being experienced all over the UK and we will soon be holding discussions on potential solutions.”