Health campaigners and councils have urged taxing vapes and displaying them in plain packaging behind the counter to decrease their appeal to children.
Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) is urging Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, to impose an additional £4 excise tax on single disposable vapes in addition to the current £4.99 price in order to combat the rapidly rising popularity of vaping among children and teenagers.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is also urging ministers to take action and tighten regulations on the promotion and sale of vaping products to match those governing tobacco.
Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Ash, stated that despite being less harmful than smoking, vaping is “not risk free” and that the government should tighten regulations and increase enforcement.
She said: “Children who vape mainly use cheap disposables, which can be bought for under a fiver. Making them less affordable by adding a specific tax for single-use disposable vapes in the March budget would be a simple first step, reducing child vaping and the vast quantities of single-use vapes being thrown into landfill.”
As of 2022, 8.6% of 11 to 18-year-olds in England vaped, up from 4% in 2021, according to data from Ash. The campaigners emphasized that adults should not be discouraged from using vapes to help them stop smoking as a result of any regulatory changes.
The LGA reported that its members had increased enforcement to deal with an increase in stores selling vapes to kids despite the law’s 18-year-old minimum age requirement, with many being “especially concerned” about the products’ kid-friendly advertising, which includes colorful packaging and fruity and bubble gum flavors.
It wants ministers to mandate that vaping packaging follow tobacco’s example of being plainly designed and hidden behind the counter. A ban on free samples, mandatory age-of-sale signage, and harsher penalties for retailers who don’t comply with these demands are also being demanded.
According to a recent survey by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, selling illegal vapes or vaping products to children in high street stores is the biggest enforcement problem, with teams noting a significant increase in underage sales in the previous year.
“It is not right that stores are able to prominently display vaping accessories for everyone to see, such as in a shop window, often in bright, colorful packaging that can appeal to children,” said David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board.
“Vapes should only be used as an aid to quit smoking. While research has shown vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking, it is deeply worrying that more and more children – who have never smoked – are starting vaping.”
Additionally, Ash called for stricter marketing regulations, including the prohibition of “light up” vapes that emit a glow in the dark as well as cartoon characters and vivid colors on packaging. It also advocated requiring age verification for anyone who appears to be under 25.
According to John Herriman, CEO of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, vape retailers operate in a “wild west” and many are “routinely breaking the law.” He suggested that a registration program for companies that sell vapes would help to create a clearer picture.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have introduced tough regulations to deter the appeal of vaping to children, including restrictions on product advertising, setting limits on nicotine strength, labelling and safety requirements, and making it illegal to sell nicotine vapes to those aged under 18 years old.
“We are carefully considering the recommendations from the Khan review, including what more can be done to protect children from vaping.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)
Categories: Regulations & Legal, Sustainability, Uncategorized
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