Disposable vapes ban announcement welcomed in St Helens Borough
The announcement of a national ban on disposable vapes has been welcomed by St Helens Borough Council.
Article date: 1 February 2024
Disposable vapes are set to be banned as part of Government plans to tackle the rising number of young people taking up vaping.
Measures will also be introduced to prevent vapes being marketed at children and to target underage sales.
The plans have been welcomed by Public Health and Trading Standards at St Helens Borough Council, both of which have responded to the concerning rise in young people who vape in recent years through awareness and enforcement.
Figures from the Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) charity suggest 7.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds now vape regularly or occasionally, up from 4.1% in 2020.
There is evidence to suggest that nicotine within vapes is associated with a high level of addiction in young people, with added risk to heart, lung and kidney health, respiratory problems like difficulty breathing, asthma and changes to lung structure, and a potential link to cancer.
Trading Standards have in recent years cautioned and enforced several local stores found to have been selling vape products illegally to children under the age of 18.
The regulatory service has welcomed plans for additional fines for any shops in England and Wales caught selling vapes illegally to children, after surveying by Trading Standards found that many young people reported that they buy vapes directly from stores.
Their investigations have also highlighted the significant health risk posed by the sale of illicit vapes - those that exceed the amount of nicotine-containing liquid allowed by law.
In an enforcement case brought in October last year, a 16 year-old volunteer was able to buy a £13 disposable vape that contained 10ml of liquid - five times the permitted amount of 2ml and the equivalent of ten packets of cigarettes in nicotine content.
The watchdog has seized 11,200 similar illegal disposable vapes from eleven local stores since February 2022.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said:
"Vaping is considered less harmful than smoking and therefore can be used as one of the ways to help people quit smoking. But vaping is not risk-free and its intended purpose has become increasingly subverted by moves to market products to non-smokers, including children and young people, with bright colours and a variety of flavours.
"Nicotine is very addictive and it's worrying to think that children are being targeted in this way. For the present and future health of our young people we cannot allow this to continue. We strongly welcome these measures and offer our support for their effective implementation."
Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Economy, Business and Skills, said:
"The ban on disposable vapes is a positive step forward and reinforces the work we're doing in the borough to protect young people from forming profoundly harmful and addictive habits. Disposable vapes are also harmful to the environment.
"We simply will not tolerate the illegal sale of vapes to children, nor the sale of illicit vape products. Diligent work by Trading Standards and its young volunteers, acting on reports from concerned residents, has time and again demonstrated that those who put revenue before the law and the long-term health of our children will be held accountable.
"I'd urge anyone who suspects a shop is selling illegal vaping products to report them by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0800 223 1133 or by emailing our Trading Standards team directly at email@example.com."