Everything you need to know about the Disposable Vape Ban 2024
On the evening of Sunday the 28th of January, the government announced a new bill that will give them the power to ban disposable vapes in the UK. A move that could see potentially over one million adult vapers left without the product that stops them from smoking.
This proposed bill talks about more than just banning disposable vapes though, and this is important.
To give it its full scope: this bill intends to outlaw disposable vapes, introduce an anti-smoking law which means anyone born after January 1st, 2009 can never buy a tobacco product, and seeks to give the government more power to ban vape flavours, regulate packaging and change the way vapes are advertised in shops.
Disposable vapes are clearly in the crosshairs of UK lawmakers. The other measures are still being analysed, with politicians only requesting “powers” to restrict flavours, packaging and displays at a later date – whenever they see fit.
As draconian as this may all sound: it’s still a bill – which is substantially different from a law. Which means there’s still time to act!
How is a bill to ban disposables different from a law?
The disposable vape ban bill will need to be discussed and passed in both the House of Commons and House of Lords, then after all changes/amendments have been agreed upon, it will need to be signed off by King Charles, a process known as a Royal Assent. Only after all these conditions have been met can a bill be turned into a law. Essentially, a bill is a foundation upon which a law is built.
When will disposable vapes be banned in the UK?
The sheer number of intended measures (remember it’s not just a disposable vape ban they’re discussing) will generate a lot of heated debate from both sides of the House of Commons, let alone the peerage that makes up the House of Lords. All of which can delay the agreement of the bill and the formulation of new laws.
But, in order to trigger a debate, MPs will have to vote against the bill in its entirety, and this could prove to be a tough sell as elements like a generational tobacco ban are very popular. The same goes for a disposable ban. Almost all parties have voiced concern over the rise of youth vaping and vaping’s environmental impact, and are putting the blame squarely on disposable vapes.
Truth be told, there’s no telling when the actual ban will be made into law, however, you can track the bill’s progress once it has been published.
Why is a potential ban being introduced?
Essentially, the government is citing two reasons as to why single-use vapes need to be banned. These are a rise in youth access and a growing concern over their impact on the environment. We’ve argued in the past that neither of these points holds enough strength to illicit a ban.
The issues around youth vaping could easily be resolved by the government enforcing the laws that already exist regarding the illegal sale of vapes to underage people. The latter is a case of better recycling schemes being introduced and the government offering more support and funding to recycling centers to help them tackle this new waste creator.
Can we do anything about the anti-vaping bill?
As we said earlier, this isn’t a law (yet) but time is very much of the essence. We urge every vaper concerned about the bill to contact their MP. This is not only a potential disposable ban that’s being discussed – a ban on flavours will affect vapers of all stripes, as everything from prefilled pods to ready-to-vape e-liquid will be controlled and restricted under this proposed bill.
Will you still be able to buy disposables after the bill has been announced?
Yes. While there’s a lot of talk about a ban coming, you will still be able to legally purchase a disposable up until the point a law is passed actually banning them. After this point, the government may introduce a “sell-through” period, which will allow retailers to sell their existing stock to ensure businesses aren’t immediately hurt by the disposable ban. We saw something similar come into place after the ratification of the TPD/TRPR laws back in 2017. This, however, will not be confirmed until the bill – in whatever form it eventually takes – has been finalised.
We absolutely agree that in no circumstances should a child be able to access a vape product (that’s why we have such a rigorous age verification process) and we support every sensible measure to curtail youth access. However, a blanket ban on disposable vapes does not fall under the domain of “sensible policy”. If anything, it will only fuel an emerging black market, the kind that exists in countries like Australia and the Netherlands, and increasingly, the UK. A market that is filled with unsafe, untested and unverified products that could put thousands of lives in danger.
When it comes to regulating flavours and packaging, again we take a balanced view; removing cartoon mascots or vapes named after popular sweets is sensible, but a complete restriction on flavours could prove to be disastrous as they’re fundamental to the vaping experience and have been proven to help people successfully quit smoking. These measures also don’t tackle the root problem, which continues to be: rogue traders, and as long as individuals and groups are willing to sell to under-18s, the problem will remain.
This bill isn’t just about disposable vapes although undoubtedly that is what will grab headlines. While many former smokers rely on disposables to keep them off cigarettes, a point which shouldn’t in any way be diminished, the government’s attempt to gain further “powers” to restrict what vape products you have access to could prove to be disastrous. Please write to your MPs and tell them how restrictions on flavour and access to vapes will affect you. If enough of us speak we can effect real change and save the products that save our lives.