Updated status of disposable vapes use in the UK

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While many entities in the UK are increasingly concerned about the huge increase in the popularity and use of single-use straws among teenagers, a ban on the product is not on the table.

A bill banning single-use products was introduced to parliament on February 8 this year and is due for a second reading on March 24. However, the bill never made it to a second reading. In January 2022, online vape platform IndeJuice reported a staggering 279% increase in disposable vape sales in the last quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter. Flavors including “fruit” and “ice” accounted for 60 percent of sales, while Elf, Geek and Solo bars were some of the most popular one-off brands with appealing flavors.

Teenagers are more likely to buy disposables than regular vapes because they are cheap and disposable. This, combined with their generally bright colors and fruity smell, tends to give the impression of being innocuous.

In the UK, single-use inhalers only allow nicotine limited to 20mg. However, vaping products that do not meet UK standards, such as those containing more than 20mg of nicotine, have been making their way into unsuspecting convenience stores. That coincides with booming demand for disposable inhalers that some sellers have been trying to capitalize on.

In fact, Geek Bar recently sent a letter to trading standards departments in major UK cities, following numerous raids, outlining the problem. Geek Bar chief executive Allen Young said that in order to minimize the problem, the cooperation of different parties was needed, including trade authorities, the vaping industry, retailer trade associations and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority.

ASH data shows huge jump in usage

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) recently urged local authorities to introduce a £4 excise duty on a single disposable vaping device to deter young people from buying it. This is due to figures from Ash showing that 8.6% of 11- to 18-year-olds in England will smoke in 2022, compared to just 4% in 2021.

Ash chief executive Deborah Arnott stressed that while safer than cigarettes, vapes are not without risks and teenagers should not easily acquire them. However, she added that any regulatory changes should not prevent adults from using them as a smoking cessation aid.

Likewise, the Local Government Association (LGA) has called for stricter regulations, including restrictions on the display and marketing of products, to match tobacco regulations. The Local Government Association stressed they had stepped up enforcement to catch any retailers selling vapes to minors.

Reversal of possible ban on vape

Meanwhile, a bill banning single-use items was introduced to parliament on February 8 and is due for a second reading on March 24. However, the bill never made it to the second reading, where MPs were supposed to debate it. ECigIntelligence explained that the chances of the bill passing are slim, given that it is a private member’s bill and not a government initiative. In addition, junior environment minister Rebecca Pow said the UK government had no plans to ban single-use items.

In other news, a recent investigation by The Post found that one of Elfbar’s models, the ‘600’ series, contained at least 50% more than the legal limit of allowable nicotine. The Post scrutinized the three flavors purchased at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco branches in London, Derby and Sheffield and found they contained between 3ml and 3.2ml. The nicotine limit allowed in the UK is 2ml, of which the maximum strength should be 2%.

When asked, the Chinese manufacturer “apologised wholeheartedly”, saying it wasn’t intentional. Despite this, Tesco removed the range from its stores and Morrisons launched its own investigation into the product. The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) stressed that ELFBAR is taking the necessary action to rectify the situation.

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