Bidding farewell to disposable vapes might just be the health revolution our younger generation needs. Despite their convenience and allure, these pocket-sized devices have wrought havoc on the well-being of our youth, with a staggering 50% increase in usage over the past year.
Additionally, from compromised lungs to heightened anxiety and depression, hospital admissions for such vape-related problems have tripled, painting a grim picture of the outcome of these colourful devices.
In response to this alarming trend, the UK government took a decisive step by releasing a smoke-free consultation report on 12 October 2023. The proposal? A bold initiative to ban disposable vapes, pinpointing them as the primary culprit in attracting underage users. Although the report’s deadline, 6 December 2023, has come and gone, we’ve got a few updates to share. So, let’s get started!
Key Points of Consultation Report to Tackle Youth Vaping
Per the report released on 12 October, the government proposed a ban on disposable ban as they have the most appeal toward children and young adults. Other than this, additional restrictions were set, such as;
- Restricting retailers to sell vape devices and related nicotine products to children under 18.
- Painting the packaging of vape e-flavours all plain and black.
- Increasing the prices of disposable bans for adults.
- Ban on appealing vape advertisements.
- Treating vaping just like smoking and promoting a vape and smoke-free environment by 2025.
- Ban on harmful ingredients used in vapes.
Further, the government set a deadline, i.e., 6 December, to analyse the public’s response and act accordingly to save the youth.
The Current Update On the Matter
As we’ve moved past the finalised date, the Science and Technology secretary, Michelle Donelan, has publicly refused to dismiss the rumours. She further said there will be an update on the finalised date for the ban in a week or two. Meanwhile, most people have been expecting the changes to take effect from January 2024.
Further, the government has restricted disposable vape advertisements, especially those misleading the public. For example, we’re all aware of the impact of disposable vapes on the environment since they don’t recycle and cause pollution. The recent advertisement by Elf Bar is under fire for claiming their new and improved disposable vapes can be recycled.
Other Countries Joining the Initiative
Though the UK is already rooting for the new smoke-free policy to manage young vaping, other countries have also been joining the initiative.
Firstly, the Welsh government and ministers are considering a comprehensive ban on disposable vapes and promoting plain packaging as part of a broader effort to combat youth vaping. Further, due to the rising stats of youth vaping, the government is trying to take multiple measures to minimise the children’s access to and use of vaping products and bring down the numbers.
Similarly, France’s prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, has also raised concerns over disposable vapes creating an appealing trend among children and putting their health at risk. Meanwhile, Scotland is also joining the cause due to the increased demand for these vapes in youth and excessive environmental pollution being caused.
Additionally, Australia has also announced a ban on disposable vapes from January 2024 to eliminate the increasing addiction to nicotine products in youth for all the right reasons.
The Potential Backfires
Now, most of the population applauds the UK government’s overall initiative to ban youth vaping. There can be a few concerning backfires needing immediate attention.
For starters, according to the surveys being conducted in the state, upon being asked about the government’s decision to impose a ban on certain vaping products or vaping overall, 38.8% of them have hinted at reverting to smoking; meanwhile, 34.9% have talked about using illegal ways to buy the banned products, leaving 26.4% as the people who would quit the habit entirely.
This brings us to highlighting the potential backfires such as;
- Increase in the purchase of disposable vapes in the black market.
- Ex-smokers reverting to traditional cigarettes to fulfil their nicotine cravings
- Youth rebelling by switching to smoking instead.
In conclusion, while we are also rooting for measures to restrict underage vaping as it can cause severe health risks in the long run, banning disposable vapes entirely can be a downside for ex-smokers or experienced vapers trying to quit the habit gradually. Thus, we need to weigh all the pros and cons briefly before making any decision.
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