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Glasgow Council calls for ban on single-use vape sales

March 16, 2023

Photo: iStock

Glasgow City Council has called for a ban on the sale of single use vapes citing health and environmental concerns.

The council said its environment and liveable neighbourhoods committee will write to the Scottish government to back calls for the introduction of new legislation banning their sale due to concerns about the future health of the city’s young people and the rising environmental impact of littering.

The Scottish government has in January commissioned a review of the environmental impacts and management of single-use vapes, with Health Secretary Humza Yousaf saying that a potential ban will be considered following the evidence review.

Councillors voiced fears that the brightly coloured and sweetly flavoured single-use vapes are designed to appeal to underage users who may be damaging their future health through regular and prolonged use.

Although safer than smoking, vapes still contain nicotine and recent seizures by the city’s Trading Standards team found many in shops and wholesalers which contained more than the legal limit.

In just three months, Trading Standards officers seized more than 13,000 illicit vapes in spot checks on businesses selling directly to the public and other retailers. These products were confiscated for reasons including tank capacity and nicotine strength exceeding permitted levels.

Rising concerns about the environmental impact of single use vapes also sparked calls for a ban – with the committee agreeing that Chair, Councillor Elaine McSporran, would raise this with the Scottish government.

“I have grave concerns about single use vapes, both in relation to their environmental impact and the impact on people’s health in years to come,” Cllr McSporran said.

“We are seeing more and more disposable vapes littering our streets and green spaces, because people are just dropping them when they are empty. They are made of plastic which, as we know, takes decades to degrade and can end up in our rivers and oceans where it is a threat to wildlife and can get into the food chain. They are also powered by lithium batteries which contain corrosive and flammable chemicals.

“The seizure of over 13,000 illicit vapes in just three months by Trading Standards officers in Glasgow hints at the extent of the problem nationwide. Their apparent marketing towards younger people with sweet flavours and brightly coloured packaging is another concern as more and more young people seem to be using them.”

In addition to the vape seizures, Trading Standards, working with HMRC and Police Scotland, as part of Operation CeCe (Scotland) have also seized more than 778,000 illegal cigarettes and 126kg of Hand Rolling Tobacco in the city since 2021.

During 2022, Glasgow’s Trading Standards team conducted 63 intelligence-led visits to retailers under Operation CeCe (Scotland). The intelligence was gathered from sources including consumer complaints, complaints from other retailers impacted by the supply of Illegal tobacco and partner agencies. Of the 63-intelligence led visits, seizures were made from 51 premises (81%).

Dundee City Council has also voiced support for banning the sale of single use vapes.