The UK will introduce legislation to ban disposable e-cigarettes in order to tackle a rise in youth vaping, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was to announce Monday.
“As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic,” Sunak said ahead of the official announcement of his plan.
“I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes -– which have driven the rise in youth vaping –- and bring forward new powers to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops,” he added.
The government cited recent figures showing the proportion of vapers under the age of 18 who use disposables has increased almost ninefold in the last two years.
Sunak’s government also plans to introduce fines for shops in England and Wales that sell vapes illegally to children.
Health experts welcomed the proposal, with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty saying the legislation would have “a major public health impact across many future generations”.
Sunak last year proposed plans to eventually make the UK a smoke-free nation.
His proposal would make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products –- effectively raising the smoking age by a year each year until it applies to the whole population, a statement by Sunak’s Downing Street office said.
“I propose that in future, we raise the smoking age by one year every year. That means a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette, and that they and their generation can grow up smoke-free,” Sunak told his Conservative Party’s annual conference in October.
At present, the purchase age for tobacco products in England and Wales is 18.