Unravelling The Ban Dilemma For Disposable Vapes In The UK

Disposable vapes are making waves among vapers due to their convenience and flavour variety, but concerns are arising regarding their safety. They are highly successful; research shows over 7.7 million disposable e-cigs will be sold weekly in 2023. But their success comes at a price!

The UK government is in the process of getting people's opinions through a consultation to decide whether to ban these handy disposable e-cigarettes. The UK’s stance on disposable vape has been a topic of debate for years, with recent rumours swirling about an impending ban on them. 

Let’s discuss in detail the possible ban on disposable vaping kits in the UK. Is it really happening, or is it just a rumour floating around?

Compelling Reasons Behind The UK's Disposable Vape Ban

The UK is considering banning disposable kits in 2024. Their major role in the unexpected increase in underage vaping is the leading cause of this. The initiative is included in the government's actions following its consultation on smoking and vaping, initiated in October of the previous year. According to Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Charity:

“7.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds now vape occasionally or regularly, up from 4.1% in 2020.”

Announcing the plans on Monday, 29th January, Mr Sunk said, "Children shouldn’t do vaping. We don’t want them to be addicted to this thing, but we still don’t understand the full long-term health effects.”

According to Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins:

“Vapes should only be used as a tool for smoking cessation. But we are committed to doing more to protect our children from illicit underage vaping, and by banning disposable vapes, we are preventing children from becoming hooked for life.”

Another reason for banning disposable vape pens is that these single-use devices are sold in bright colours and come in sweet and fruity flavours like Gummy Bear, Candy-inspired flavours, and Pink Lemonade. These striking colours and flavour names are appealing to children.

Another factor that is making it possible to ban these vaping kits is environmental concerns, as disposables contribute to large amounts of waste. According to Greenpeace: “Over 40 tonnes of lithium disposable batteries were thrown away in 2022, enough to power 5000 electric cars.”

Impact Of The Proposed Disposable Vape Ban On Adult Vapers In The UK

In the UK, 2.7 million of the 4.7 million adult e-cigarette users are former smokers, and the number of adult smokers making the conversion to vaping is still rising. On the positive side, many smokers have benefitted from the use of disposable vaping devices.

They are considered the most popular and successful method for people trying to quit smoking as they are easy to use and cost-effective. The ban on disposable kits may lead people to return to traditional cigarettes.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of death in England. Almost every minute of every day, someone is admitted to a hospital with a smoking-associated disease. It costs society £17 billion annually - putting a huge burden on the NHS.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, Said:

“Vaping can be useful for smokers to quit but should not be marketed to non-smokers, and marketing them to children is utterly unacceptable. “

What Could Happen If Disposable Vapes Are Banned In The UK?

As discussed earlier, disposable kits give ex-smokers an accessible and convenient way to start vaping and quit smoking. Banning them would be challenging for users to make the transition. There is also a probability that illegal tobacco products or harmful nicotine products could take hold in the black vaping market.

The environmental charity Material Focus's executive director, Scott Butler, told the Guardian:

“If the legitimate industry is banned, then there will be no mechanism to deal with all the operational challenges and costs of illegally sold vapes, which have the same challenges. It could lead to hard-to-control illegal sales and an established illegal vape market.”

Final Verdict!

Disposable vapes are e-cigarettes that are sold in the UK. Their popularity is their ease of use and variety of flavours. Apart from that, they act as a convenient source for former smokers to quit smoking. Till now, no strong evidence shows that disposable vapes will be banned in the UK in 2024.

However, the government is taking serious steps to ensure that children are not involved in vaping. A question arises here: when will disposable vapes be banned? Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told the BBC that the legislation would be debated before the next general election, likely in 2024. The ban could take effect in early 2025. But keep in mind the whole purpose of banning disposable pen kits is to keep young children safe and cease underage vaping.

New powers will also be implemented in the coming year, like:

  • Restriction on the flavours which are specifically marketed to children.
  • Make sure manufacturers focus on plain packaging instead of vibrant and bright colours.
  • Retailers and sellers should change how vapes are displayed in shops (moving them out of children’s sight).