Rishi Sunak has announced a complete ban on disposable vapes; as part of his environmental and health policies. A draft legislation has been announced and the plan is to be implemented by the end of 2024.
This ban comes on the back of a ban on the sale of tobacco products to people born after the 1st of January, 2009. These measures are being taken to ensure a healthier and safer future for the upcoming generations.
Along with the ban, there will also be a restriction on fruity and tasty flavours, to further disincentivise smoking and vaping; especially among teenagers and younger adults. Manufacturers will also be required to provide their products in discreet packaging, and measures will be taken to ensure that it’ll be easier to give out ‘on-the-spot fines’ to shops who are violating these legislations.
Sunak, while talking to Independent TV, remarked “Children shouldn’t be vaping and we don’t want them to get addicted; we still don’t understand the long-term health impacts of vaping, so it’s right that we take strong action to stamp this out.”
The Popular Conservatives or ‘Pop Con’, with leaders like former Prime Minister Liz Truss, has called these moves ‘unconservative.’ and said that the state should be against such ‘Nanny state’ policies. The Prime Minister has responded by saying that protecting children’s health should not be considered unconservative.
Sunak has promised a ‘free vote’ on the matter, and given the Labour Party’s support, it should pass without any significant difficulties. Rishi Sunak’s position remains shaky as he faces a rebellion from the ‘Popular Conservatives.’
There are legitimate arguments made, as people who use vapes as a way to help with tobacco addiction will face significant difficulties. At the same time, the number of youth smoking cigarettes has gone down, with a simultaneous increase in the amount of children using vapes. The current law does not allow the sale of vapes to minors, however, there are no explicit restrictions on free distributions, and many minors have reported that they ‘received’ vapes.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive at Action on Smoking and Health, stated “Banning disposables when they are so widely used will require strict enforcement to be effective, as illegal vapes are already flooding the market even before a ban. At the turn of the last century, illegal tobacco was out of control, just as illegal vapes are now but the number of illegal cigarettes on sale in the UK fell by 80% between 2000 and 2021 after a comprehensive cross-government strategy was implemented.”
How effective these legislations are remains to be seen, but one thing is clear; if the government wants to be successful in its implementation it needs to ensure constant and strict enforcement
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