Are disposable vapes being banned in the UK?
While there are no direct plans to ban disposable vapes, government ministers are determined to tackle the two main issues surrounding them: mass wastage and youth vaping.
Ministers want to safeguard young people from getting hooked on nicotine at an early age despite the legal age for purchase being set at 18. They’re also focused on issues of waste management: the UK government wants to tackle how we dispose of the lithium batteries inside disposable vapes.
This stir in the vaping community is making headlines, and at the time of publication, there are no current bans on disposable vapes. However, at Juicemate, we think keeping up to date with all the latest developments is important.
Will disposable vapes be banned in the UK?
As of the 15th of September, 2023, news outlets predict that government ministers are drawing up plans to ban disposable vapes as early as next week. However, this will only be confirmed if the government and reputable UK news outlets release a public announcement.
Why are disposable vapes so popular?
The cost difference between cigarettes and disposable vapes can significantly impact a smoker's decision to quit.
Disposables make the transition easier, as they’re often more affordable and easily accessible. If users aren't ready to invest in specialist equipment, like starter kits or refillable cigarettes, they offer a more cost-effective choice.
Keep them in your pocket, purse or bag: the compact design of disposable vapes means you can carry them anywhere. They’re the perfect on-the-go option and offer vapers the ultimate way to get their daily fix of delicious flavours.
Speaking of convenience, disposable vapes come pre-filled with e-liquid and a pre-charged battery, making them ready to use straight out of the package.
There's no need to fuss with refilling tanks or changing coils, which can be particularly daunting for newcomers. The ease of use extends to the vaping experience itself; simply inhale to activate the device.
Once the e-liquid is depleted, you can dispose of the device responsibly and pick up a new one.
If you're someone who prefers a straightforward, no-fuss experience, disposable vapes are for you.
This low-maintenance nature particularly appeals to those who lead busy lives and don't have the time or inclination to deal with the complexities of more advanced vaping systems.
How would the disposable vape ban affect smokers?
1. Return to smoking
One of the most immediate and concerning impacts of a ban on disposable vapes would be the potential return to traditional smoking for many users.
Since their release, disposables have been used as a stepping stone away from cigarettes and towards quitting. A ban would remove this alternative and drive people back to tobacco products.
2. Black market
Prohibition often gives rise to black markets, and a ban on disposable vapes would likely be no exception. Smokers who have become accustomed to the convenience and experience of vaping may seek out these products through illegal channels.
The regulatory standards of black market products are far lower, meaning quality control issues could lead to even more dangers to public health.
3. No incentive to quit
Disposable vapes come in a range of tasty flavours. From desserts to coffee, fruit to menthol, single-use vapes offer more variety than tobacco products. But what if this choice was taken away?
Some smokers may see no reason to quit if they don’t have disposable vapes to fall back on.
Who has called to ban disposable vapes?
While many people support vaping as a hobby and a smoking cessation tool, some authorities have concerns when they are used and disposed of improperly. For example:
Local councils are among the first to raise their voices against disposable vapes.
According to a news release from the Local Government Association, councils are urging a ban in 2024 to quash environmental and safety concerns.
Single-use disposable vapes are closed systems, meaning the lithium battery is almost impossible to separate without special treatment.
If crushed by bin lorries, the battery’s temperature increases and can ignite. This risk presents an obvious health and safety hazard for waste collectors and ‘comes at a cost to the taxpayer through fire damage to equipment’.
According to the public charity Action on Smoking Health, ‘the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds who say they use e-cigarettes doubling in the past 12 months alone’. This is despite the fact the legal age for purchasing vapes is 18!
Public waste campaigners
Material Focus, a not-for-profit organisation, has revealed that 1.3 million single-use vapes are discarded weekly. As one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the UK, disposable vapes add to the 155,000 tonnes of electrical waste thrown away annually.
That's why environmental organisations up and down the country have started to campaign against dangerous waste removal.
Which other countries have banned disposable vapes?
The UK is not the first country to consider a ban on disposable vapes.
As of September 2023, Mexico, India, Thailand, Brazil, Nepal, Indonesia, Argentina, Qatar, North Korea and Hong Kong have placed a total ban on disposable vapes.
If caught carrying a vape in Singapore, you could be hit with a £1,500 fine: the same fines apply in Qatar, where the maximum rises to £2,00. In Thailand, possessing disposable vapes can even carry a five-year jail sentence.
Why did Australia ban disposable vapes?
However, some countries regulate disposable vapes for specific purposes. In Australia, for example, the government imposed a total ban on selling disposable vapes but allowed them to be available via prescription.
From October 2021, the NSW Government ruled that, to purchase nicotine vaping products, ‘consumers must present a valid prescription from an Australian medical practitioner’.
The country implemented this process to protect public health and later went as far as to ban e-liquids and e-cigarettes used solely for recreation. These regulations have been divisive amongst vapers, with many believing adults should be free to smoke disposables if that’s their informed choice.
What is an alternative to disposable vapes?
As of September 15th, you can still purchase disposable vapes.
But at Juicemate, we also offer alternatives to single-use products, such as our range of tanks, e-cigarettes and pods! You can top-up these refillable devices with e-liquids from our multi-buy range, where we offer deals like 5 for £14.99 or 10 for £24.99!