In response to concerns over the rise of disposable e-cigarettes among teenagers, the UK government will launch plans to reduce minors’ exposure to the products.
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) recently asked the UK government to enforce existing laws on e-cigarette retailers and impose fines on those illegally selling e-cigarettes to minors. The proposals were released in response to a statement from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) calling for urgent government support, saying: “The scale up of non-compliant vaping and concerns about underage sales is snowballing. out of control”.
Earlier this month, Dr Mike McKean, vice-president of policy at the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health, said vaping had reached epidemic proportions among underage children in the UK. “The problem is obvious to everyone because you see a lot of young people vaping in schools,” he said.
New law doesn’t stop adults from using disposables to quit smoking
While ASH CEO Deborah Arnott recently reiterated that while vaping is safer than cigarettes, vaping is not without risks and should not be easily accessible to teens. However, she added that any regulatory changes should not prevent adults from using them as smoking cessation aids. ASH also called for simpler packaging.
In fact, British ministers have been considering a new tax on vaping products in an effort to tackle youth use of disposable e-cigarettes. Proposals under consideration also included further regulations on plain packaging as suggested by ASH, Marketing and Taste.
Meanwhile, a bill banning single-use items was introduced to parliament on February 8 and went to a second reading on March 24. However, the bill never made it to the second reading where MPs debated it. ECigIntelligence explained that the measure is unlikely to pass because 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.
Ministry of Health allocates £3m to tackle disposable vaping problem
However, Health Secretary Neil O’Brien expressed his concerns about the rise in the use of single-use e-cigarettes. To this end, £3 million has been allocated to tackle the problem. This will include trial buying by Trading Standards Officers to catch any retailers selling to children under 18. When announcing the plan at a recent policy exchange, O’Brien said the “Illegal Vaping Enforcement Team” would carry out these checks at convenience stores and vaping shops across England.
The group will also issue guidance on how to ensure compliance with the law and confiscate any illegal products found. In response to the announcement, Arnott said she was pleased the government had “finally announced funding for law enforcement to tackle the scourge of underage sales.”
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