Parliament approach bill to ban disposable vapes

/ 4 min read

Parliament approach bill to ban disposable vapes

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykenham, want to introduce a bill to parliament that aims to prohibit the sale of disposable vapes.

Her move comes as a response to an NHS survey the Grantham Journal Reports. This survey was conducted in 2021 and published in 2022, and served to confirm the fears of many in the UK that the sudden rise of disposable vapes has led to a youth access crisis.

The results revealed that one in five of 15-year-olds consider themselves e-cigarette users. Disposable vapes are at the heart of this controversy sparking debate among experts attempting to work out how best to curtail the issues being driven by the uber-convenient devices.

Action on Smoking and Health have already issued support to schools struggling to manage and build effective policies on vaping amongst pupils who are bringing in hoards of disposables every day.

To make matters worse there is little to protect these youths from getting their hands on a completely untested illegal disposable which have permeated retail locations across the UK and small and big retailers alike have been found to be selling to under 18’s.

As recently as this week illegal Elf Bars have been removed from Tesco shelves, and only in January (2022) we saw Waitrose opt to remove disposable vapes form sale. Waitrose’ decision was grounded in preventing youth access but also in response to the staggering environmental problem these devices pose.

At least 1200 electric cars-worth of lithium is being sent to landfill because of the millions of disposable vapes being binned every week in England alone. This would be issue enough, if it weren’t for the equally vast numbers being littered on the streets every day. The devices non-biodegradable and harmful electrical components make them a major potential pollutant.

Disposables are the target – not re-useable vapes

Dr Johnson is an NHS children’s doctor giving her a uniquely personal stake in the ongoing concerns. Not only this, but she is also a member of Parliament’s Health and Social Care Select Committee – an arm of the government department which has produced the series of 8 ground-breaking e-cigarette evidence reviews.

These reviews began with the famous 2015 revelation that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and have gone on to confirm vaping’s power as a cessation tool and in national efforts towards tobacco harm reduction. The latest 2022 report further confirmed the harm reduction potential, but also flagged that people’s understanding of the risks vs smoking was quite distorted.

Man holding cigarette and disposable vap

With this context, Dr Johnson’s bill seems less wildcard, and she has clearly recognised disposable vapes as the part of the vaping world offering the least positive contribution versus their re-useable counterparts.

Dr Johnson said: "The Government is committed to achieving a smoke-free generation by 2030.”

"Reusable e-cigarettes and vapes remain an important aid to quitting smoking, but I fear that their colourful, child friendly flavoured, disposable counterparts are luring non-smokers into a life of addiction, which risks creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.”

"I look forward to presenting my bill to parliament soon and to highlighting the effects disposable e-cigarettes and vapes are having on our nation’s health and natural environment."

“Despite preventative fines currently in place, the disposable devices are too accessible for young people and therefore a ban on all disposable forms of the device is necessary.”

Particular attention has been drawn to disposable vape designs, flavours, and their unbelievable prominence on less-regulated social media platforms like TikTok.

This has only been compounded by the fact that most disposable vapes are 20mg/ml of nicotine. While only written as 2% on packaging, this is actually the highest legal limit it is possible to sell in the UK. Youth in the survey mentioned above noted that they though 2% was a low nicotine level, when in reality one disposable is the equivalent of 48-50 cigarettes.

Time will now tell if Dr Johnson’s bill will take hold – a possibility that is increasing in likelihood as major retailers begin to question the legitimacy of even top disposable brands like Elf amidst the ongoing retail scandal. The risk to children and lack of proper testing seems to be the elephant in the room making 2023 a dramatic year for disposable vapers and retailers alike.