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Disposable vape ban would fuel black market, says Fed

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has described disposable vapes as 'a threat to public health and the environment'

disposable vapes devices

A proposed ban on disposable vapes in Scotland would fuel the black market, and harm attempts to help customers quit smoking, according to the Fed.

The group wrote a letter to the Scottish government ahead of its planned consultation on a ban, to be held in 2024.

Fed Scotland president Hussan Lal summarised the letter, stating: “We said that a total ban is not the way to go, that it will simply push supply of disposables away from responsible retailers and into the hands of the illicit trade.

“Speaking from experience in my shop, my tobacco sales are down and my vaping sales are up. These two things are linked.

“There are countless customers who no longer smoke because they were able to move onto simple-to-use vaping products like disposables.”

The position shows the difference in opinion between retailers and government.

When announcing potential moves to ban disposables, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf described them as “a threat to public health and the environment”.

Lal, who runs St Mirren Food Store in Paisley, Renfrewshire, said a response to the letter from the Scottish government had pledged to consider the Fed’s views and to engage with retailers on any potential action.

However, there is a consensus from regulators and vaping companies that restrictions on disposables are highly likely, especially as a separate UK government “call for evidence” around tackling youth vaping is also underway.

Freedom of information requests by RN revealed the call for evidence has received “more than 600” submissions.

The UK government has repeatedly delayed the release of these submissions to RN in subsequent requests.

Speaking to Better Retailing at Spar Scotland wholesaler CJ Lang’s annual trade show last week, a representative for vape supplier Liberty Flights revealed the company is reformulating its products so its flavours more closely resemble those of disposable vapes in anticipation of a ban.

Vape industry groups have begun to lobby the public and the government in an attempt to soften the widespread opposition to disposable devices.

Last week, the Independent British Vaping Trade Association (IBVTA) launched a six-month campaign, highlighting that vaping can “save smokers’ lives”, the need to buy from reputable retailers and to recycle devices properly.

The vape industry is also making progress on tackling the environmental impact of disposables.

Yan Man, chief executive of Green Wings Project, told Better Retailing last week it had distributed more than 7,000 free vape recycling bins to stores in partnership with vaping company Elux.

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