The Government has just shared its plans to ban disposable vapes, aiming to address concerns about young people vaping. While the goal of curbing youth vaping is commendable, implementing this plan requires the development and enforcement of new laws. This is a process that poses significant complexity.
It’s crucial to grasp that such changes need time and careful thinking. In this post, we’ll explore why the Government wants to ban disposable vapes. We’ll also look at the challenges involved, and the main goal of making the vape industry safer, especially for young people.
What Will the Disposable Vape Ban Mean?
The proposed government changes involve prohibiting the sale of single-use vapes. This includes popular products like Elf Bar 600 and Lost Mary BM600. The move intends to reduce youth vaping by removing from the market products that hold particular appeal for young users.
The ban does not extend to rechargeable vape devices using pre-filled pods nor refillable vapes designed for use with e-liquid. These alternatives remain available for adult consumers. There are, however, plans in place to look into regulating e-liquid flavours in the near future We are mindful of just how much that could affect many of our customers.
Disposable vapes have become disproportionately popular with underage vapers. This is mainly due to their low cost and easy availability. Disposable vapes are often sold in a wide range of non-specialist outlets, like corner shops. This wide availability can make it more challenging to prevent the sale of them to underage youths. Why? Well, some of these shops may not enforce age verification in the same way a responsible vape shop will. However, such lax retailers, who might overlook age verification, are also likely to disregard regulations when it comes to stocking and selling illegal disposable vapes. Consequently, the current approach is unlikely to address the underlying issue.
When Will the Vape Ban Come into Action?
The ban won’t happen right away. As the Government works on the details, there will be a transition period. This gives businesses and individuals time to adjust to the new rules. So, it will take several months before we see any changes in the availability of vaping products.
Supporting the Government’s Aim
Reducing youth vaping is crucial. However, it’s also important to help adult smokers switch to safer options. History shows that an outright ban may not be the best solution for public behaviour issues.
Take Australia as an example. When disposable vapes were banned, an illegal market boomed, and is still booming. This case shows we must find solutions that don’t create new problems. We need to carefully think about strategies to address the issues, so we avoid creating fresh challenges. This way, we can find better and lasting solutions for both young and adult populations.
Vape Ban Enforcement Challenges and Unintended Consequences
Effectively reducing youth vaping needs more than just passing a law. A combination of enforcement strategies, education, and public information will also be needed to achieve the intended results.
The illegal vape market is a real problem. Irresponsible retailers who stock these products often also sell to young people. To stop this, trading standards and border enforcement must be given the resources they need to keep these products off the market.
Additionally, penalties for retailers selling vapes or tobacco to those under 18 should be harsher. These penalties must be widely enforceable to deter irresponsible retailers. The policy intent for this is discussed in the consultation outcome, but it appears to fall far short of being satisfactory.
The suggested ban on disposable vapes also has risks. It’s important to think about adults who have transitioned from smoking to vaping using these products. If there are no alternative options, there’s a concern they might revert to smoking, undoing the progress made in harm reduction.
At least five times as many adults use disposable vapes compared to 11-17-year-olds using them more than once a week. The impact of the ban is likely to be far more significant for adult smokers than it will be for eliminating youth vaping.
At Totally Wicked, our primary goal is to help adult smokers and disposable users switch to better options. We’ve worked hard to provide a variety of alternative products. Our aim is to meet the needs of adult smokers and vapers, preventing them from going back to tobacco use.
Environmental Considerations of the Disposable Vape Ban
Let’s explore how the ban could impact the environment. Disposable vapes, used once and discarded, contribute significantly to litter and waste problems, especially when not recycled responsibly. This is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention.
While the ban aims to address these issues caused by single-use vapes, it is unlikely to be effective. Just banning something does not show a commitment to resolving the issues it gives rise to. It simply attempts to eliminate the problem without a comprehensive solution.
Unfortunately, this plan is unlikely to work because bans inevitably create illegal markets. And these markets usually don’t care about the environmental impact of their end products. This is in contrast to responsible and regulated manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. These entities prioritise and adhere to their environmental responsibilities.
Currently, major vape retailers, like Totally Wicked, actively collect and recycle disposable vapes. But, with the impending ban, this service will become obsolete in its current guise. While we remain committed to meeting our obligations regarding Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) for rechargeable products, there is a concern that the ban may give rise to a growing black market for disposable vapes. This could result in the neglect of responsible disposal for single-use products and broader WEEE at the end of their life. This could actually worsen littering issues instead of improving them.
The environmental impact and cost of disposable vapes are real concerns in the vaping world. While the main focus is on reducing youth vaping, it’s equally crucial to provide environmentally friendly options for adult vapers.
Totally Wicked’s Perspective
As a market leader in the vaping industry, we are deeply committed to setting the standard for responsible practices.
For several years, we’ve offered sustainable options like our VLTZ range as an alternative to disposable vapes. We encourage our customers to explore these options both online and in our stores. This dedication dates back to the surge in popularity of disposable vapes in 2022.
We also focus on responsible marketing and sales. This includes strict age verification both online, and in our stores, to ensure a safe and legal experience for our customers.
Balancing Act: The Pros and Cons of a UK Vape Ban
When thinking about banning disposable vapes, we understand and support the goal of reducing youth vaping. Yet, it’s crucial to understand that prohibiting a product merely removes it from legal circulation.
The prevalence of numerous ‘big puff’ disposable vapes on the market is a cause for serious concern. Despite already being illegal, these prohibited products are widely available. So, a blanket ban on all disposable vapes is unlikely to address the underlying issues. Instead, it runs the risk of further increasing the distribution of these unlawful products.
Additionally, we need to be mindful of potential challenges the ban might bring. Finding the right balance between regulations and making sure there are safe and widely available options for adults is crucial.
The ban on single-use vapes may not necessarily yield positive outcomes. There is a concern that such a measure could have adverse effects on public health, encourage the growth of an illicit market, and contribute significantly to environmental hazards and risks.
Our commitment lies in collaborating to explore all possible avenues to minimise potential adverse impacts associated with this proposed ban.