In a move to combat the escalating issue of youth vaping, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil plans on Monday to ban the sale of disposable vapes, emphasizing the government’s commitment to preventing their use by children. Additionally, the government aims to reinforce its stance on curbing tobacco access for younger generations.
Under the proposed powers, strict regulations on vape flavors, a mandate for plain packaging, and alterations to the presentation of vapes in stores to make them less appealing to children are on the agenda. Sunak highlighted the government’s dedication to protecting children’s health for the long term, particularly those who are 15 years old or younger, as part of their broader initiative.
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the UK, contributing to one in four cancer-related fatalities, totaling around 80,000 deaths annually. In October, Sunak had already outlined plans for legislation that would render individuals born on or after January 1, 2009, unable to purchase tobacco in their lifetime.
While vapes are recognized as a valuable tool for smoking cessation, concerns have emerged about their potential role in fostering nicotine addiction among young people. The government reports that 9% of 11- to 15-year-olds in the UK are currently using vapes. The World Health Organization (WHO) advocated for a complete ban on all vape flavors in December.
Despite the WHO’s stance, industry groups and the UK Vaping Industry Association argue that vapes present significantly lower health risks compared to tobacco. They contend that flavors play a pivotal role in encouraging smokers to transition to vaping.