Vaping products vape display tills

Independent retailers have shared concerns over new proposals to further restrict the advertising and promotion of vaping products by the Scottish government.

Under new plans, the advertising of e-cigarettes, through leaflets and flyers and in-store media would be banned, alongside free or cut-price samples.

The government claims more stringent measures are needed because of a rise in people taking up e-cigarettes as a “lifestyle choice” rather than to quit smoking.

In particular, it said the number of non-smoking teenagers who have tried vapes has risen.

However, several Scottish store owners told betterRetailing they were being disproportionately targeted in an effort to answer a wider societal problem.

Industry body reacts to proposed Scottish regulatory measures for e-cigarettes

Mo Razzaq, owner of Premier Mo’s Blantyre in South Lanarkshire, said the proposals would affect his sales of vapes due to promotion reductions. “Vaping has been backed by the NHS as a way to give up smoking, so I think the government should be pushing this message instead of turning into big brother,” he said.

“I sell a lot of zero-nicotine vapes, and I was going to advertise this on my gantry, but under these proposals, I wouldn’t be able to.

“The government needs to concentrate on funding healthy activities. A ban ticks an easy box, but it’s lazy politics.”

Dennis Williams, of Premier Broadway in Edinburgh, added: “I recognise vaping is a fashion and it’s not just about giving up smoking, but how can you stop that? It can’t be down to retailers.

“There has to be education, and I don’t think that is happening. The answer isn’t just about advertising.”

The Fed’s former Scottish president, Ferhan Ashiq, stressed the proposed legislation would affect promotion of new products, which has become vital for stores as sales of tobacco products decline.

ACS raises vaping advertising concerns

“Not being able to let customers know about new products will hamper us and annoy us,” he said.

“What they really need to focus on is online platforms such as Amazon selling e-cigarettes at dirt-cheap pricing,” he said.

Vape retailer Eric McGill who runs two stores in Glasgow and an online outlet under the name Vape Made Easy, said this was the wrong solution to the problem of underage vaping. “I won’t be too affected as I am a destination shop and we have a strict over-18 policy at the door, but I think convenience will take a hit,” he said.

“Advertising is just one part of a larger jigsaw, and the government needs to put resources into targeting underage sales through enforcement and through proper age verification, especially for online sales.”

The government consultation closed at the end of last month and no date has been given as to when an outcome will be published.

Order your copy of Vape Retailer today, the leading vape magazine for the convenience sector. Click here for vape product news and category advice.