Vape-ban proposals spark retailer anger

A similar move in Scotland has quickly gained the support of 23 councils


Retailers have hit back at proposals for an outright ban on disposable vapes in England and Wales by 2024, claiming it will “turbocharge” sales of illicit products

Last week, the Local Government Association (LGA) called for a ban on the sale and manufacture of disposable vapes to come into effect “rapidly”, describing them as a “hazard for waste-and-litter collection”. 

The national membership body for local authorities also advised strict measures to regulate the display and marketing of regular vaping products, in a bid to crack down on underage youth sales. 

Chairman of the LGA’s community well-being board, councillor David Fothergill, stressed “councils are not anti-vapes”, but said they are “fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes”. 

A similar move in Scotland has quickly gained the support of 23 councils, which have pledged their support to a campaign on an outright ban. 

In response, a Scottish retailer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Better Retailing: “Our store is situated in a council that is supporting a ban, and it’s really worrying. If something like this went ahead, we’d lose thousands of pounds in sales. 

“We are known in the area for our vape range, and we would be forced to just stop selling them at the drop of a hat.” 

The LGA’s plans were also criticised by UK Vaping Industry Association director general John Dunne, who warned it could lead to a “massive influx of illegal, untested and potentially deadly black-market products, and this is in nobody’s interest”. 

He explained: “The consequences of these proposals have not been thought through. It looks like a move by the LGA to support cash-strapped councils that don’t want to invest in the local authority’s waste-management capability required to support smokers transitioning to vapes.” 

The Fed’s national president, Muntazir Dipoti, claimed the move “would risk turbocharging an already booming illicit market”. He added: “History suggests it would be optimistic in the extreme to think prohibition stopped people getting hold of products.” 

Sue Nithyanandan, owner of Costcutter Epsom, told Better Retailing she is already battling against increasing sales of illicit vapes, and is concerned an outright ban would worsen this. 

“I am worried about the impact of this,” she said. “Responsible retailers are doing all we can to ensure we are staying on the right side of the law to sell them, and yet the majority exist on the illicit market.” 

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