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Councils call for cigarette-like rules for vape products

February 13, 2023

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Vapes should be kept out of sight of children in shops and the legal minimum age of 18 should be marked clearly on each product, councils in England have said, claiming that too many children are being illegally sold vapes with fruity flavours and colourful packaging.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England, is calling for vaping products to be subject to the same rules as cigarettes, such as:

  • Vapes to be in plain packaging and kept out-of-sight behind the counter
  • Mandatory age-of-sale signage on vaping products – it is currently voluntary
  • A ban on free samples of vaping products being given out to people of any age

“It is not right that stores are able to prominently display vaping paraphernalia for all to see, such as in a shop window, often in bright, colourful packaging that can appeal to children,” said Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

He also said it was “deeply worrying” that more and more children who had never smoked are starting to vape.

“This has become a major concern for councils, who are seeing a sharp rise in cases of shops and other outlets selling vaping products to people under 18,” Fothergill added.

“The evidence suggests that vaping is by no means risk-free, and so it is very alarming that young people are getting access to and using e-cigarettes. This is why we are calling for tougher and stricter regulation of vaping products to tackle the growing cases of children getting hold of them.”

Health charity ASH said the government should introduce a tax on single-use disposable vapes in the Budget in March.

“In one simple step this would reduce both child vaping and the vast quantities of single-use vapes being thrown into landfill,” said Deborah Arnott, ASH chief executive.

The charity also suggested that product names resembling sweets or featuring cartoon characters should be banned, and anyone who looks under 25 should be asked for ID in shops.