The Welsh government is pushing for an outright ban on disposable vapes across the UK, according to ministers.
A UK government consultation on potential measures to restrict vape sales, displays, flavours and packaging, covering all four UK nations, is set to close on 6 December, with measures to be announced in early 2024.
Speaking on 15 November at a debate in the Welsh Parliament proposing a ban except for prescriptions, Julie James, minister for climate change, confirmed the Welsh government is lobbying for the most extreme restrictions, stating: “We will be talking with the UK government about accelerating the consultation and then the outright ban on single-use e-cigarettes.”
James also suggested that even if an outright ban on disposable vapes is not proposed following the consultation, other laws could force vape companies to move away from single-use devices.
The minister explained that “extended producer responsibility reforms” requiring suppliers to cover the full cost of waste collection would make companies “markedly move away from the single-use market”.
She said this would also “limit the supply of single-use e-cigarettes”.
The Welsh Senedd member that led the debate calling for the ban, Jenny Rathbone, also called on other politicians present to describe disposable vapes as “a danger to public health”.
An outright ban would remove one of the fastest-growing and most profitable category from independent stores.
Responding to the debate, the Fed’s Wales president, Vince Malone, agreed with the widespread concerns over waste, health and protecting children, but said there were better ways to address the challenges.
He added: “Selling vapes to children is wrong, and we agree steps should be taken to prevent young people being attracted to and being able to purchase these products.
“However, banning them, or making them available only on prescription to adults wanting to give up smoking, could fuel illicit vape sales, giving unscrupulous criminals more opportunity to profit by selling vapes and e-cigarettes to minors.
“Responsible vape retailers offer recycling options, but the government should be looking at making available more ways to safely recycle disposable vapes.”