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Impose heavier restrictions on disposable vapes to limit child use, urges Committee

19 July 2023

The Government should consider bringing restrictions on packaging and marketing of vapes in line with those that apply to tobacco products to tackle a rise in use among children.

The Committee believes that the Government can maintain a public health message on the potential value of vapes as a tool to help smokers to quit while ensuring that its messaging and education, enforcement and regulatory approach keeps them out of sight and reach of children.

The Committee is calling for the Government to:

  • Consider bringing restrictions on packaging and marketing of vapes in line with those that apply to tobacco products
  • Review resources and enforcement powers of trading standards to prevent vapes being sold to children
  • Assess the impact on use among children and smokers on lower incomes of a proposed excise tax on disposable vapes, which would also help to protect against imports of illegal products - which the Committee heard can contain chemicals including hydraulic oil and antifreeze

Chair's comment

Health and Social Care Committee Chair, Steve Brine MP said:

“Decisive action is needed now from both Government and industry to tackle an alarming trend in the number of children vaping and to protect them from its harmful effects.

“It’s clear to us that the vaping industry has not gone far enough to ensure that its products don’t appeal to children. When you have brightly coloured and branded vapes with flavours that name unicorns, sweets and popular fizzy drinks displayed in locations ranging from newsagents to chicken shops, it’s disingenuous for the industry to claim otherwise.

“We heard a wake-up call from a headteacher who told us that hydraulic oil and antifreeze, along with other extremely concerning chemicals, were found in a vape confiscated at her school.

“Ministers need to focus, across Government, on the impact vaping is having in our schools, whether that be setting off smoke alarms in toilets or restricting access to them entirely for young people. We’ve heard this issue is really impacting on the delivery of education in schools and, post-pandemic in particular, this is the last thing we can afford.”

Further information

Image credit: Pixabay