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UK announces ban on disposable vapes, as Tánaiste says he would like to see a similar move here

The UK’s announcement puts it in line with Germany and France, who have also announced bans on singe use vapes


TÁNAISTE MICHEÁL MARTIN has said he would like to see a ban on disposable vapes in a bid to crack down on the sector.

Martin made the comments after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out plans to get rid of disposable vapes to protect children’s health in an effort to crack down on vaping among children.

Sunak announced the ban today, which is expected to apply across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Originally seen as a healthier option for adults who are addicted to cigarettes, e-cigarettes – or “vapes” – have grown more popular in recent years, particularly among younger people. According to UK statistics, the number of children using vapes in the past three years has tripled.

The latest figures show 9% of 11 to 15 year olds in the UK use vapes.

“As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic,” Sunak said in a statement.

The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.

The UK’s announcement puts it in line with Germany and France, who have also announced bans on disposable vapes. New Zealand implemented a ban last year.

Ireland announced a ban on the sale of vapes to under-18s in December. 

There are also plans to introduce rules around how vapes are marketed, such as the use of colours and flavours.

A ban on single use vapes has been floated, but no timeline has been given on when it will come into effect.

Asked if he would like to bring in similar legislation to that seen in the UK, Martin said: “I would hope so. I am very anti-vapes, generally.

“I was in the shops over the weekend and it’s kind of depressing to see something which we managed to do with tobacco, we got tobacco off the shelves at the entrance into a shop.

“Clearly the objective is to get kids, get young people, get teenagers hooked and you have an industry for the next 50 years, without any proper due diligence on what goes into these products.

“I welcome any means to crack down on the sector. I just think it’s shocking the number of young people who are on the vapes now and it seems to me to be the replacement for the cigarettes.”

The UK government also plans to bring in laws to to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops.

The changes are part of a wider effort to restrict the use of tobacco products. The most notable of these are plans to restrict the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2008, which the government says will bring about “the first smokefree generation”.

A similar ban was introduced in New Zealand in recent years, before the new government announced plans in November to scrap it.

Commenting today on the plans to ban single-use vapes, the UK Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza said in a statement:

“As Children’s Commissioner, I want all children to grow up healthy and well, which is why I have been calling for disposable vapes to be banned, to protect children and prevent them from becoming addicted.

I am absolutely delighted that the government has listened to the appeals that I, and many others, have made to ban disposable vapes. I also welcome the decision to create far tighter restrictions on marketing and flavours of vapes so they aren’t so appealing to children and young people.

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