Disposable vapes: Local councils call for total ban on smoking alternative by 2024
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Local councils across England and Wales have raised concerns surrounding disposable vapes and calls for them to be totally banned by 2024. Key issues surrounding the smoking substitute included litter problems, fire hazard risks and the appeal that the devices have to children.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA), 1.3 million vapes are thrown away each week, including single use brands such as Elf bars and Lost Mary. The association, which represents councils across England and Wales has now called on the government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use vapes by 2024.
The LGA said it is crucial that a total ban comes into effect quickly, with the EU proposing a ban in 2026 and France rolling out a ban before the end of the year. They also flagged the risk that as markets close, disposable vapes will flood further into the UK market.
Disposable vapes have been highlighted as a risk for waste and litter collectors, with the devices causing fires within bin lorries. The design of single use vapes means that their batteries cannot be separated from the device, making them almost impossible to recycle without a special treatment process.
The smoking alternative devices are produced with lithium batteries inside a plastic casing which can rapidly increase in departure when crushed and become flammable. This adds an additional cost to council taxpayers from fire damage to equipment and specialist treatment facilities to deal with the hazardous waste.
Councils are also concerned about how vaping is impacting children and young people. There has been a sharp increase in children, who had previously never smoked, picking up a vaping device.
The marketing of vapes with a variety of designs and flavours could appeal to children, with councils concerned by devices that have fruity or bubble gum flavours and colourful packaging. The Local Government Association has called for strict new measures to regulate how all kinds of vapes are displayed and marketed and have called for regulations to match the way tobacco is marketed.
Councillor David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board said:“Councils are not anti-vapes, which are shown to be less harmful than smoking and have a place as a tool to use in smoking cessation.
“However, disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.
“Single use vapes blight our streets as litter, are a hazard in our bin lorries, are expensive and difficult to deal with in our recycling centres. Their colours, flavours and advertising are appealing to children and the penalties for retailers selling them don’t go far enough.
“Councils urge the Government to take this action to protect our planet, keep children safe and save taxpayers money.”