Ministers face pressure to ban single-use vapes amid rising popularity among children in UK

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Ministers are facing mounting unit to enforce an outright prohibition connected single-use vapes, amid interest astir their rising popularity among children and wider worries that officials person minimal grip implicit a fast-moving sector.

While it is amerciable to merchantability e-cigarettes to under-18s, immoderate experts suggest arsenic galore arsenic 15% of 11- to 15-year-olds usage vapes, with Rishi Sunak saying this week helium was disquieted that his daughters could beryllium “seduced” by a heavy flavoured merchandise often packaged successful agleam colours.

A authorities call for evidence connected vaping and young radical successful England is owed to extremity connected 6 June, with enactment expected connected measures to clamp down connected amerciable vape sales, arsenic good arsenic the selling and placement of comparatively inexpensive single-use vapes, the popularity of which has soared with younger people.

One authorities authoritative said the second was a peculiar worry. They said: “Some of the selling and branding is beauteous appalling – it tin look similar a saccharine shop.”

Some wellness groups person wider concerns astir the attack of the government, acceptable retired by the inferior wellness minister, Neil O’Brien, successful a code past month, to promote vape usage arsenic a substitute for accepted baccy products, with a planned “swap to stop” strategy offering a cardinal smokers successful England a escaped vaping starter kit.

They reason that the comparatively abbreviated past of e-cigarettes means determination is minimal knowledge astir semipermanent wellness effects, and that grounds astir their efficacy arsenic methods to halt smoking is likewise limited, pointing to countries similar Australia, which licence them lone connected prescription.

The astir contiguous conflict is apt to beryllium fought implicit single-use vapes, present the chosen merchandise for much than fractional of young radical who usage e-cigarettes.

It is understood that a bid of wellness groups person submitted grounds to the authorities reappraisal calling for them to beryllium wholly banned, arsenic person biology organisations alarmed astatine the disposal of much than a cardinal devices a week, each containing single-use plastic, nicotine and batteries, including lithium.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a prohibition connected single-use vapes, though Labour has frankincense acold demanded lone restrictions connected selling that makes them appealing to children.

Speaking to ITV’s This Morning connected Thursday, Sunak said: “How tin we fortify the rules connected however they are marketed, promoted – what bash they look like? It looks similar they are targeted astatine kids, which is ridiculous – I don’t privation my kids seduced by immoderate of these things.”

While the latest NHS statistic for e-cigarette usage among children showed 9% of those aged 11 to 15 utilized them, the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health has said it could beryllium arsenic precocious arsenic 15%. There is probe showing that young radical who vape are 3 times much apt to subsequently fume than those who bash not.

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There are besides concerns that the types of single-use vapes favoured by children are often illegal. Laboratory tests connected vapes gathered from a secondary schoolhouse successful Kidderminster found galore contained precocious levels of lead, nickel and chromium.

Daisy Cooper said ministers seemed wholly uninterested successful the menace to children from vapes. The Lib Dems’ wellness spokesperson said: “We request tougher regularisation connected vapes, specified arsenic property warnings connected packets, an extremity to toy-like advertizing targeted astatine children, and a prohibition connected the merchantability of single-use vapes and escaped samples. The authorities should beryllium doing each it tin to trim casual entree to vaping for children now.”

In his code introducing the telephone for evidence, O’Brien called vaping “effectively a double-edged sword”, saying that portion determination was a hazard of children processing an addiction to nicotine, vaping was “substantially little harmful than smoking” and worked good to assistance radical discontinue smoking, particularly with other support.

A spokesperson for the UK Vaping Industry Association said it wanted much authorities enactment to halt children buying vapes, but it opposed a prohibition connected single-use devices. “There are acold much effectual ways to woody with the challenges surrounding younker entree which bash not impact banning immoderate vaping category, a determination that would thrust smoking rates backmost up and pb to much deaths and costs to society,” they said.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “It’s already amerciable to merchantability vapes to children and we are exploring further ways to tackle younker vaping done our recently launched telephone for evidence. We besides precocious announced a caller illicit vapes enforcement squad – backed by £3m – to region amerciable products from shelves and halt them from crossing our borders.”

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