Scotland to consider new powers over vapes in UK Parliament Bill

Public health minister said the Scottish Government would seek to work on a cross-UK basis on smoking age ban.

The Scottish Government will consider how to use new powers being introduced at Westminster in a bid to curb vaping.

Public health minister Jenni Minto made the pledge as new legislation was introduced at Westminster, which if passed will ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or later.

The UK-wide legislation will mean that youngsters born on or after January 1 2009 will never legally be able to buy cigarettes.

But the Bill, which Holyrood will have to give legislative consent to, also includes new powers to regulate the display, contents, flavours and packaging of vapes and nicotine products.

This could allow for vapes to be moved away from products such as sweets, while flavours aimed at youngsters to be restricted.

While the legislation would also remove existing Scottish provisions which make it an offence for anyone under 18 years of age to buy tobacco, Minto said the Scottish Government would seek to work on a cross-UK basis.

The public health minister stressed action was needed as smoking still kills more than 8,000 people a year in Scotland.

She stated: “Smoking is a huge burden on our NHS and social care services and contributes significantly to health inequalities, which is why our goal is for a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034.

“Research suggests that almost one in five young people have tried vaping and we’re particularly concerned about how flavours are used as an enticement to children and young people.

“We will now consider how to use these powers, if passed by Westminster, with the consent of the Scottish Parliament, to benefit public health.”

The minister added: “We will continue our four-nations approach to avoid any unnecessary regulatory divergence and to offer more certainty and for business and consistency for consumers.”

With the Scottish Government having already pledged to ban the sale of single use vapes in Scotland from April 1 2025, if backed by Holyrood, Ms Minto said: “We were the first government to commit to taking action on single-use vapes and have now fulfilled our 2023 Programme for Government commitment to consult on measures to tackle the environmental impact of single-use vapes.”

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