You may have noticed a number of concerning reports in the media recently about the "impending and immediate" ban on all disposable vape devices. We understand the alarm this might cause for businesses within the vaping industry.
We’ve taken an in-depth look at the situation to separate facts from sensationalised fiction.
Where has this all come from?
Growing concerns have arisen in the UK about the popularity of disposable vapes among young people. According to a recent study by the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of teenagers vaping in the UK has risen from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2023.
Disposable vapes have become popular among young people due to their affordability and ease of purchase. They are often flavoured with sweet and fruity flavours and marketed with vibrant colours and eye-catching packaging.
In addition to the concerns around young people vaping, disposable vaping devices are also considered a growing environmental concern, as they are made from non-biodegradable materials and are often littered.
These factors have led the UK government to consider further action. On September 11th, reports surfaced from a number of media outlets regarding a complete ban on all disposable vape devices, including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The National. These reports were based on anonymous sources within the government. The government has not yet confirmed or denied the reports, but it is expected to make an announcement in the near future.
When could the ban be implemented and what would it look like?
It is difficult to say for sure when a proposed disposable vape ban in the UK could be implemented, as the government has not yet announced a final decision. According to the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), it is very unlikely that any legislation will come into effect before 2025.
John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), said:
“It’s important to point out that this is about a consultation and that no decisions have been made on the future of disposable vapes.
We welcome the idea of a consultation on disposables as it is key that the industry gets the opportunity to highlight the benefits, and therefore continued need, for single use vapes as a smoking cessation method.”
The government will need to give businesses time to prepare for a ban and to dispose of any existing stock of disposable vapes. They would also need to introduce new legislation to implement the ban.
It is also worth noting that the government may decide to phase in a ban on disposable vapes, rather than implementing it all at once. For example, they could start by restricting the sale of disposable vapes to certain types of retailers, or by limiting the number of disposable vapes that can be purchased at one time.
The exact timing of the proposed ban will depend on a number of factors, including the government's decision-making process and the need to give businesses time to prepare.
What are the concerns about a potential ban?
Some people have expressed concerns that a ban on disposable vapes could lead to an increase in black market sales of unregulated disposable vapes. This is because disposable vapes are relatively easy to produce and smuggle, and a ban would create a high demand for these products on the black market. Unregulated disposable vapes may contain harmful chemicals or may not be properly manufactured, which could pose a risk to users.
Others have argued that a ban on disposable vapes is unfair to adults who use them as a way to quit smoking. Disposable vapes are often seen as a more accessible and affordable way to quit smoking than traditional vaping devices, and some people may be less likely to quit smoking if disposable vapes are banned.
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has expressed its concerns in an official statement:
“A ban is not the answer. Some 220 people die from smoking every day, 365 days a year. Disposables have proved to be highly effective in helping smokers quit their habits due to their ease of use, accessibility and low entry price points. They are one of the main reasons as to why the number of adult smokers in Great Britain have hit record lows for the last two years according to the Office for National Statistics.
There is also overwhelming evidence that vape bans lead to black markets in the sale of such products and increased smoking rates, putting smokers and vapers at significantly more risk of harm across the world.
The black market already exists in the UK and represents over 50% of the single use market and this would only accelerate with a ban.”
It is important to weigh the potential benefits and risks of a ban on disposable vapes before making a decision about whether or not to implement such a measure.
How would the proposed ban affect the UK vaping industry?
The full extent of the effects can only be conjecture at this point, as it will depend on the exact legislation introduced by the government.
On one hand, a ban would of course see a decline in sales of disposable vapes. However, this would naturally increase sales of refillable devices and hardware. These products are known to be much more profitable than disposables, which generally have an extremely low profit margin for retailers.
Refillable hardware, liquids and coils are also much more specialised items, for which customers require advice and guidance. This puts more emphasis on dedicated vape shops.
Overall, the UK government & NHS actively encourages vaping for adults as a healthier alternative to smoking and this attitude is unlikely to change with tighter regulations on disposable devices.
Therefore, there will be both positives and negatives in general for any business within the vaping sector.
The proposed ban on disposable vape devices could mark a significant change in the way vapes are sold in the UK, but it is important to note that nothing has yet been officially confirmed and the media reports are mostly based on speculation and conjecture.
Should any legislation be introduced, it is very unlikely to come into effect before 2025.
We would advise all of our customers to continue their business as usual and to wait for an official announcement from government sources. This will not be an overnight change.