The government would be making a grave mistake if it decides to ban disposable vapes as it would be a significant over-reaction to the exaggerated perception of harms to youth .
Public health organisations such as Action on Smoking and Health, Fresh Balance and NCSCT are opposed to a ban, and for good reason. The convenience and wide choice of flavours are useful for helping smokers to switch to a safer product, especially amongst heavier smokers and disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Disposable vapes don’t require refilling and recharging, so are easier to use. People who have problems with dexterity find them very useful and their low cost and convenience helps to prevent relapse to smoking.
Industry estimates that over 50% of single use vapes in circulation are already illegal, so banning the regulated market does not make sense. Illicit sellers would continue to import and supply unregulated and potentially unsafe nicotine vaping products to adults and young people, but with increased competitive advantage in the absence of regulated products.
There are justified concerns about youth vaping, but surveys suggest that most youth vaping is experimental or amongst adolescents who were already smoking. Much is made of the range of flavours but it is important to recognize that fruit, dessert and candy flavours are the most popular category among adult vapers, with more than half of all vapers choosing them. It is clear that single use vape devices are popular among young people. But it seems to have been forgotten that 25 years ago the same demographic would have been initiating their nicotine use from smoking instead of vaping.
Furthermore, banning these products would equate vaping with smoking in the minds of many people. This will deter many smokers from switching to a far safer alternative and some former smokers who currently vape will return to smoking.