The United Kingdom government is set to impose a ban on disposable vapes in a bid to curb the increase of children vaping.
The new law will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, delivering on the Prime Minister’s pledge to create a smoke-free generation
Vaping alternatives — such as nicotine pouches — will also be outlawed for children who are increasingly turning to these highly addictive substitutes.
The measure, which was launched in October last year, will also prevent manufacturers from targeting children in their adverts.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the ban will be introduced across the island nation and will include England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
“The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable,” Sunak said in a press release.
He added that as Prime Minister, he had an obligation to do what he thought was the right thing for the country in the long term.
“That is why I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes — which have driven the rise in youth vaping — and bring forward new powers to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops,” Sunak said.
“Alongside our commitment to stop children who turn 15 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, these changes will leave a lasting legacy by protecting our children’s health for the long term.”
The UK government issued a press statement last week, explaining that the decision would also restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes were displayed in shops so they don’t appeal to children.
"Disposable vapes have been a key driver behind the alarming rise in youth vaping, with the proportion of 11 to 17 year old vapers using disposables increasing almost ninefold in the last two years," the press release stated.
Furthermore, recent figures show the number of children using vapes in the past three years has tripled. Use among younger children is also rising, with 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds now using vapes.
The long-term health impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine contained within them can be highly addictive, with withdrawal sometimes causing anxiety, trouble concentrating and headaches. While vaping can play a role in helping adult smokers to quit, children should never vape.
According to Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, smoking is still the single largest preventable cause of death in England.
"Almost every minute of every day someone is admitted to hospital with a smoking-related disease. And it costs society £17 billion each year - putting a huge burden on our National Health System," she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, added that stillbirths, cancer, asthma, dementia, stroke and heart failure - smoking causes disability and death throughout the life course.
“If passed, this legislation would have a major public health impact across many future generations,” Whitty said.