Last chance for public to have say on banning single-use vapes

The Scottish Government has accepted the findings of a UK-wide consultation that found there is a 'clear majority' for an outright ban.

A consultation on banning the sale and supply of single-use vapes closes on Tuesday.

The Scottish Government has backed recommendations of a UK-wide consultation on the issue, resulting in a “clear majority” for an outright ban.

Under the proposed legislation, a ban would come into effect on April 1, 2025.

Measures will include restrictions on vape flavours and promotions, as well as changing the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products.

What are the new rules?

The legislation will ban the sale of single-use vapes and make it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009.

There will be restrictions on vape flavours, the way they are displayed in store and how they are packaged.

The laws will give new powers to local authorities allowing them to issue fixed penalty notices to people breaching the age of sale legislation for both tobacco products and vapes.

Refillable, reusable vapes will remain available alongside other tools for smoking cessation, including nicotine patches and medication.

Why is the ban necessary?

Children’s exposure to vape marketing is at an all-time high, with youngsters overwhelmingly opting for fruit and dessert-flavoured vapes, new data shows.

Annual survey results from Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) show children in Great Britain are increasingly aware of vape marketing, including in shops and via social media sites such as TikTok and YouTube.

The 2024 poll of 2,587 children aged 11 to 17 found that 7.6% currently vape, the same proportion as last year, but up from 2.8% in 2017 and 0.8% in 2013.

There are also indications that regular vaping among this age group is now more common (4.5%) than using vapes less than once a week (3.1%), experts behind the study said.

This is the first year that the rate of regular use (more than once a week) is higher than occasional use.

The data, shared exclusively with the PA news agency, found that 57% of child vapers and 47% of adult vapers prefer fruit as their main choice of vape flavour.

Furthermore, vapes with sweet flavours and those that taste of vanilla or chocolate are twice as popular with children (17%) than with adults (8.8%).

The data for 2024 also showed the popularity of “ice vapes” among children and teens, which are marketed as giving a “cool, icy exhale”, similar to a menthol flavour but without the deeper minty flavour.

Some 45% of youngsters who vaped said they used ice vapes, as did 65% of those aged 18 to 24.

When it comes to vapes being marketed, the poll found the proportion of children aware of vape advertising is now at an all-time high.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said: “It is reassuring that youth vaping has not increased over the last year, but it’s not going down either.

“Tough action is still needed to curb youth vaping.

“Exposure to vape marketing among teenagers is at an all-time high and it is essential that the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is passed so the new powers to limit promotion can be swiftly enacted.

“At the same time, however, it is concerning that adults increasingly do not understand that switching to vaping would be less harmful to their health than smoking.

“Alongside the vital efforts to curb youth vaping, Government must take action to address this misperception.”

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