Disposable vape ban ‘may not go far enough’, says dentist

disposable vape ban

The government has announced that disposable vapes will be banned to protect children’s health – but what does the dental profession think?

Ella Samuel – dental therapist

Disposable vapes have become significantly popular across the UK, particularly with the young adult population who are citing it as a ‘healthier alternative’ to traditional smoking. But to what extent is it healthier?

In light of the recent news that disposable vapes will be banned across the UK, dental care professionals will need to modify the way in which we deliver smoking cessation advice. Having recently completed a dissertation project on whether or not dental care professionals should be recommending vaping devices long-term as a smoking cessation strategy, I am extremely pleased to see this change being made.

As dental care professionals, we have very little guidance to refer to when asked about vaping devices due to the uncertainty of long-term effects surrounding oral health. However, disposable vapes contain hundreds of chemicals including carcinogens and diacetyl – both chemicals that have been linked to systemic diseases; which we know can impact oral health (ALA, 2023).

It is with great hope that this ban on disposable vapes will help deter the population from consuming these products and will prompt the need for further research to be conducted surrounding the long-term effects of vaping devices on oral health, supporting the UK dental industry in delivering accurate smoking cessation.

Nilesh Parmar – dentist

It’s encouraging to hear the news about Rishi Sunak’s efforts to safeguard children’s health by banning disposable vapes and implementing measures to restrict vape flavours and packaging targeted at children. However, my concern lies in the belief that these measures may not go far enough. Those who are addicted are likely already using non-disposable brands. I believe vapes should only be accessible through smoking cessation services, focusing on aiding individuals in quitting smoking rather than being a recreational option.

The question of whether the NHS or the patient covers the cost is another consideration. There’s a potential issue with individuals opting for cheaper, refillable options (these can be bought for as little as £5), possibly leading to the NHS spending on addressing nicotine addiction and the harmful effects of vaping later on. I think we will see the full impact of vaping in 10+ years.

Ongoing research on vaping and e-cigarettes and their potential link to cancer is underway. While nicotine itself may not cause cancer, studies indicate that e-cigarette vaping can induce DNA mutations in the lung, heart, and bladder – a precursor to cancer. The reported cases of lung illnesses and deaths associated with vaping further emphasise the need for thorough consideration and regulation in this domain.

Mick Armstrong – BDA Health and Science Committee chair 

A ban on disposable vapes that transparently target the young is the right choice at the right time.

The MPs bleating about attacks on personal liberty need to grasp that these products are only two decades old.

We’re still paying catch up on the science, but there is enough evidence for caution and common-sense restrictions.

Jeff Sherer – founder of The Dental Design Studio

As someone who has unfortunately been a ‘user’ of vapes in the past, I think a ban on them is a really good thing. They are readily available and highly addictive.

At present, nobody really knows the full effects these will have on health, and seeing young children using them could create a future health crisis.

Vapes are believed to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but they have dental side effects, mainly causing a dehydration of the oral cavity. This, combined with a high sugar diet, could see an increase in caries and periodontal disease.

I do believe in free choice and generally I do not like blanket bans on lifestyle products. However, the use of vapes is not only creating future dental problems, but there is a huge environment impact that is created by the disposal of vapes too.

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