Vaping measures to crack down on retailers targeting children

Vaping regulations to crack down on promotions 'aimed at children'

A new government crackdown on vape marketing has kicked off in a bid to reduce the targeting of children and young people. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to clamp down on the ‘unacceptable’ promotions of e-cigarettes as concerns build over increasing levels of vaping among young people.

A loophole that allows retailers to give free vape samples to children in England will close under the new plans.

This comes as recent NHS figures for 2021 showed that 9% of 11 to 15 year old children used e-cigarettes. This figure is up from 6% in 2018.

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‘Deeply concerned’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘I am deeply concerned about the sharp rise in kids vaping. I am shocked by reports of illicit vapes containing lead getting into the hands of school children.

‘Our new illicit vape enforcement squad – backed by £3 million – is on the case. But clearly there is more to do. That is why I am taking further action to clamp down on rogue firms who unlawfully target our children with these products.

‘The marketing and the illegal sales of vapes to children is completely unacceptable. I will do everything in my power to end this practice for good.’

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty added: ‘Closing the loophole that allows companies to give out free samples of vaping products to under 18s is a very welcome step in tackling some of the harms caused by the vaping industry.

‘We should continue to encourage smokers to swap to vaping as the lesser risk, whilst preventing the marketing and sale of vapes to children.’

On-the-spot fines

There will also be a review into the rules on issuing fines to shops selling vapes to under 18s illegally. This will allow local Trading Standards officers to issue on-the-spot fines and fixed penalty notices more easily.

It will complement existing fine and penalty procedures. Where possible, it will also cover both illegal and underage sales for vapes and tobacco. Where gaps are identified, the government said it will take action to close them.

In a recent Action on Smoking and Health Smokefree GB Youth Survey 2023 of 11-17 year olds, two out of five young people said they smoke vapes ‘just to give it a try’.

Around one in five say they smoke vapes because ‘other people use them so I join in’.

We want to hear from you! Is enough being done to combat vaping? Do you think these measures go far enough? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

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