IBVTA responds to calls for ban on single use vapes
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling for the Government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use vapes by 2024.
The IBVTA believes an outright ban on an entire category of vape products would be discriminatory. IBVTA members supply single-use vape products for vulnerable adults that would otherwise be smoking, often in projects that are publicly funded. Our concerns about the unintended consequences of an outright ban must also be shared by many people working in frontline local health and wellbeing services.
There is also a more general demand by adults for vapes that are as “user friendly” as cigarettes, as evidenced by just how popular they are among adult smokers who would likely never otherwise have tried vaping. While there are obvious issues surrounding single use “disposable” vapes, they can be a very important “first step” away from cigarette smoking.
Analysis of over six hundred thousand IBVTA member customers shows the average age of purchasers of single use products is 37 and the average age of vapers purchasing so called child targeted flavours is 36. These data are skewed by the strict age verification that IBVTA members carry out. However it is clear that the products are not disproportionately popular with young adults, and are actually very popular among middle-aged adults that would otherwise be smoking.
Sales and proxy sales to children have been illegal for some years now, and there is a link between those who supply illicit product which don’t comply with UK regulations and illegal sales to children. Reputable retailers uphold strict age of sale policies and verify the ages of their customers, as well as the compliance status of the products they supply.
Local Trading Standards enforcement officers have recognised that retailers who do not take care to check that the products they stock are compliant are also less likely to check the ages of their customers. Banning single use vapes would do nothing to discourage these rogue retailers.
Littering of single use vapes must be discouraged, which is why the IBVTA supports our members in encouraging behaviour change of their customers. Consumers can reduce their environmental impact by moving to rechargeable, refillable products. Our members are working on providing more opportunities for consumers to dispose of their single use vapes responsibly, and to ensure the products recovered are recycled.
The IBVTA’s CEO, Gillian Golden, said “Prohibition rarely works, and history tells us the black market will just grow to cover the gap. We recognise the concerns of the LGA and its members. However, we believe there are better ways to tackle the issues of youth access and vape waste. We need to consider approaches that will have less dire consequences for the potential of vaping to continue driving down adult smoking rates.“