Disposable vapes could be completely banned as they litter streets and concerns for health


Local councils in England and Wales are calling for a total ban on disposable vapes, due to serious concerns for the environment and health consequences.

The Local Government Association has described the proposed ban as “crucial”, stressing the need to take urgent action to limit nicotine addiction among young people, as well as managing the financial costs associated with special recycling treatments.

The UK would follow in the footsteps of neighbouring countries, with France considering a full ban this year and the EU aiming to achieve one by 2026. 

David Fothergill, the chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said the products were “inherently unsustainable” and "almost impossible to recycle”. 

He explained: “Single-use vapes blight our streets as litter, are a hazard in our bin lorries, are expensive and difficult to deal with in our recycling centres.”

Mr Fothergill also criticised the “fundamentally flawed design”, with their colourful appearance and variety of flavours designed to attract a decidedly younger market. 

“Their colours, flavours and advertising are appealing to children and the penalties for retailers selling them don’t go far enough,” he added.

Research published by Material Focus, a non-profit organisation that runs the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, found that about 1.3m single-use vapes were thrown away each week in the UK. A survey for Action on Smoking and Health found that 20.5 per cent of children had tried vaping, and that the proportion of people who vape (7.6 per cent) has now exceeded that of those smoking (3.6 per cent).

A blanket ban on these products could come with unintended consequences Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), possibly encouraging the sale of illegal products.

Deputy chief executive Hazel Cheeseman said: "Children already find it easy to get hold of illegal vapes as those selling them have no qualms selling to children. Making them all illegal won't help. The sale of illegal disposable vapes, already large and growing, will be turbo-charged if they are banned."

While a full ban is not something ASH could support, Ms Cheeseman said they would encourage an excise tax on disposable vapes, which would make them less affordable.

Mr Fothergill also conceded that while vapes are an important tool in smoking cessation, a focus on disposable vapes is needed, with a ban proving “more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes”. 

A government spokesperson said: "We are concerned about the use of vaping products, particularly among young people. That is why we launched a call for evidence to examine both the environmental and health impact of vapes, and identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing them.

"We strongly encourage all consumers to consider the environment and dispose of electrical waste, including by making use of take back schemes at participating retailers.

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