Disposable vapes ban - an environmental good news story!

Jennifer Nixon
Jennifer Nixon • 7 February 2024

There aren't many environmental good news stories at the moment, so I wanted to highlight a recent one, which will also have huge health benefits, especially for respiratory health. Following the government's consultation on smoking and vaping late last year (which some of you may have responded to) they announced last week that legislation will be brought in to ban disposable vapes in the UK.

The news has been welcomed by a wide range of organisations, across the health and environment sector. Dr Mike McKean, a paediatric respiratory physician, and Vice President for Policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said “We’re delighted that the Westminster government has heard our calls and is rightly prioritising the health and wellbeing of our children and the planet”. Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance, said: “This ban can’t come soon enough, not only for the health of future generations, but also for the health of the planet. The government has followed the science, and this decision will have many environmental benefits. Valuable lithium ion batteries will stop going to waste or winding up as litter, along with all the casings that have been blighting our environment for too long. This means critical raw materials will be preserved for uses where they’re much needed - like renewable energy. The risk of fire from mishandled batteries will be minimised and dangerous plastic pollution will be prevented.”

Others, such as Dr Ian Walker, Executive Director of Policy at Cancer Research UK, have rightly highlighted the need to ensure that adequate smoking cessation services are available to ensure that existing smokers can access both support and affordable nicotine replacement therapy, rather than the disposable vapes they might currently turn to. The government has previously announced a range of measures to try to reduce smoking rates, such as the law which will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009, and the restriction of vape advertising and flavours. Preventing people taking up smoking, and helping them to stop, remain two of the most important things that can be done to make healthcare more sustainable, by preventing ill health and therefore preventing need for healthcare at all.

You can read more about the government’s plans, and organisations’ responses, here: No time-line for the introduction of the legislation has been given, so we must do what we can to hold the government to account, and ensure that this fantastic step forward for population and planetary health is implemented as soon as possible.

Comments (2)

Hayley Pinto
Hayley Pinto

This is wonderful news. Will be even better when it has a time line!. There is simply no excuse for disposable vapes when reuasables preceded them. Disposables were cynically targetted at non-smokers, especially young people and children. It remains important for reusable vaping to be available and not 'tarred with the same brush' though as it remains one of the most effective measures to help existing smokers reduce their health impacts and achieve quitting.

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