Why is the government introducing a ban on disposable vapes?

The government states that the uptake of vaping by the countries youth is a troublesome matter and that measures must be taken to protect them. Following their survey on proposed legislation to tackle this issue which was published by the Department of Health and Social Care last year (which we cover in an article here), the government has now confirmed that disposable vapes WILL be banned. As yet there is no exact time scale for this law to come into effect, but it looks to be towards the tail end of 2024.

The bill to ban disposable vapes in the UK will be discussed in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it can be confirmed and agreed upon. Following this it will need to receive the approval of King Charles in a process called a Royal Assent. It is very likely that all will be in favour of the bill so we can expect this to go ahead later in the year.

Why and how has youth vaping become a problem?

We believe the rise in youth vaping can be almost entirely attributed to disposable vapes so a move to ban them would make sense. The meteoric rise of disposable vapes like Elf Bars was due to their convenience & simplicity. Until such devices were made readily available to the public, many saw vaping as a complicated and daunting alternative to smoking and so simply didn’t try it as a smoking cessation. The introduction of an electronic cigarette which needed no charging, no refilling and was utterly simplistic in it’s design with bold and sweet flavours proved to be a winning formula.

But hang on a second…… isn’t selling vapes to children illegal? YES, it is. So then how are children getting vapes and why is the government not enforcing this law effectively? Why must the entire nation be deprived of the single most effective smoking cessation the world has ever seen? Most likely the government doesn’t have the man-power to enforce the law effectively to completely curb youth-vaping. Disposable vapes are in almost every convenience store nation-wide as well as many supermarkets.

If the government cannot uphold the law in this way, they must resort to more drastic measures and in this case it’s to be a blanket ban. Some may find this a step too far and whilst it may be in terms of youth vaping, we actually don’t think it is when it comes to environmental impacts. However you look at the topic of disposables and the environment, the fact remains that they’re unnecessary – there have more sustainable and eco-friendly options since the very beginning.

Impressionable youth saw disposables as a new and cool thing to do and were likely egged on by the fact that vaping is supposedly healthier than smoking (as claimed by both the NHS and PHE). It may also be true that certain flavours added to the allure – though banning flavours because of this isn’t the right step to make because it denies everyone access to a better choice. And whilst it’s true that disposables have done great harm to the vaping industry, youth vaping and indeed our environment, they have done one good thing: they made quitting smoking easier than it’s ever been. 

Can I still vape after disposables have been banned?

Provided the government introduces a ban on disposables without slipping anything else into the legislation (flavour bans, tax etc) then the short answer is yes. And your vaping experience will improve as a result. You’ll find it cheaper, more customisable and you may even enjoy aspects of vaping you hadn’t considered (rebuilding coils, mixing your own E-Liquid, that new piece of shiny hardware) etc.

What we worry about is how they will package the new ban and what other new laws they will push through in an attempt to tackle the issue of youth vaping. The survey made mention of a tax, flavour bans and stricter laws regarding advertising and placement of all vape products in shops in order to remove vaping from the eyes of children. It is not yet certain what will happen once the new legislation has been confirmed as amendments will no doubt be made, but vaping might just get a lot more expensive and less flavoursome.

It’s obvious to any of us that the implementation of a tax law is just to increase income for the government. It wouldn’t help to reduce youth vaping in the slightest as the alternatives to disposable vapes are already more expensive up-front and require at least some level of knowledge in order to use them properly. As mentioned previously, the allure of disposable vapes to children was their simplicity, ease of access, compactness and huge range of fruity and sweet flavours. Simply removing disposables tackles almost all these issues but one: flavour.

What’s the worry about vape flavours? Will they be banned?

The government’s made it abundantly clear: they think flavour is a primary cause for the uptake of vaping by youth. If this is the case, why was there little to no mention of youth vaping as an issue before disposables made it big? This premise ignores the fact that adults like the same flavours children do, but their argument is that adults are less easily influenced by advertising and are fully capable and responsible for their own actions.

It would be a terrible shame for vape flavours to be banned outright and it would fly in the face of what various branches of the government have already established regarding vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation, and indeed it’s health effects compared to smoking. Let’s not also forget that the industry employs a huge number of people in the UK and most of these individuals would lose their jobs in the face of such adversity.

The disposable ban is making waves in the media at the moment and the industry is changing already as a result. Vape shop owners and retailers will be making the move to get ready for the coming ban by stocking refillable vape kits, expanding E-Liquid stocks and encouraging disposable users to move onto more sustainable options. We’ve been on the case for nearly a year already with our handy Disposable Killer & Primed Kits – offering a complete vaping package to help you get off your disposable habit.

Can the anti-disposable bill be stopped before it’s signed by King Charles?

The bill isn’t a law yet, until our good King Charles has placed his signature on it. The only thing anyone can do in an attempt to stop it is to contact their local MP. We think it’s unlikely that this will have much of an effect but it’s still worth doing – as we mentioned earlier in the article, the bill proposes changes to what flavours will be available. If vape flavours are restricted to Menthol & tobacco, it’ll spell disaster for the industry and the progress it’s made against smoking.

Our Conclusion

It’s common sense that children shouldn’t be allowed to vape – no one really disagrees with this besides those selling to them. The unfortunate extreme to which the government is resorting in order to tackle youth vaping and the impact on the environment comes with some rather serious consequences:

  • A blanket ban on disposables will open a black market for non-compliant products which may be dangerous
  • A ban on certain vape flavours will remove one of the main incentives to take up vaping as a means to quit smoking
  • A ban on packaging designs removes any edge one brand may have over another, which essentially means small vape companies have no possible way to compete with well-established giants

Whilst we’re advocates of DIY E-Liquid and sustainable forms of vaping, the governments move to further restrict what we can and can’t do is down-right nefarious and the result of knee-jerk reactions born of ignorance. Ultimately we’re grateful for the sheer number of people that disposable vapes have managed to get into vaping but when it comes to the environment, they’re doing serious damage, and it’s just unnecessary.