The Well being Secretary has pledged to chop the advertising of vapes to kids, saying it makes them “appear like sweets”.
Steve Barclay stated as a father, he’s fearful about kids taking over vaping and being drawn to flavours corresponding to bubblegum and vibrant packaging.
Talking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to launch a Authorities session on the problem, he stated vaping helps people who smoke give up however “for those who don’t smoke, they shouldn’t vape”.
He added: “What we’re notably involved about… is the way in which that vapes are being marketed to kids with bubblegum flavours, making them appear like sweets.
“We’ve seen a three-fold improve within the variety of kids utilizing vapes. Now, one in 5 kids have used vapes and there’s some actual concern, notably after I discuss to headteachers and different lecturers, by way of the growing use of vapes by kids.”
He stated the Authorities is “clear that this focusing on of youngsters via vapes – making them appear like sweets – is unsuitable”.
Requested about making vapes prescription-only, he added: “We’re worldwide finest follow.
“The hazard in case you make them prescription-only is to what extent does that decrease the variety of adults transferring from smoking to vapes?
“We need to get the stability proper, it’s one thing we’re doing throughout the UK, there’s truly broad help for taking motion on vapes, however the identical on disposable vapes, we simply need to get the element proper.”
The eight-week session seeks views on how vapes can be utilized by people who smoke desirous to give up however on the identical time reduce their attraction to under-18s.
Among the many choices being thought of are an entire ban on disposable vapes, limiting their sale, or making certain they can’t be bought in an array of flavours and colors that may attraction to children.
Charities, teams, people and business are invited to offer their opinions within the session.
The proposals additionally embrace introducing plainer packaging and prohibiting using cartoons and child-friendly photographs, regulating whether or not vapes are on show in retailers or behind the counter, and growing the value.
On vape flavours, choices embrace limiting descriptions to make them extra generic, so phrases like “blueberry muffin” can’t seem.
Some consultants, together with the Royal Faculty of Paediatrics and Little one Well being (RCPCH) and Kids’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza, have referred to as for an outright ban on disposable vapes after knowledge printed in Might confirmed a 50% rise within the final 12 months within the proportion of youngsters attempting vaping.
Figures present disposable vapes are the e-cigarette of selection amongst children, with purchases of vapes largely created from nook retailers.
The UK-wide session will even study whether or not new powers may very well be introduced in for native authorities to situation on-the-spot fines for these promoting vapes to individuals underneath age.
It’s unlawful to promote vapes to under-18s however social media carries posts from youngsters exhibiting colored vapes and discussing flavours corresponding to pink lemonade, strawberry, banana and mango.
Many vapes comprise addictive nicotine.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunakwho final week unveiled plans to cease kids aged 14 or youthful from ever legally being bought cigarettes, stated: “Our bold plans will reverse the worrying rise in youth vaping whereas defending our kids from the harmful long-term results of smoking as shortly as potential.”
Professor Sir Chris WhittyChief Medical Officer for England, stated: “Guaranteeing individuals don’t change into hooked on smoking and serving to them overcome dependancy to give up smoking are two of the very best interventions for well being.
“Vaping is much less harmful than smoking however nonetheless has dangers and might trigger dependancy.
“Vaping might be helpful for people who smoke to give up however shouldn’t be marketed to non-smokers and advertising them to kids is completely unacceptable.”
Sarah Woolnough, chief government at Bronchial asthma + Lung UK, stated: “It’s clear we should urgently act to cease kids accessing vapes.
“Disposable vapes at their present pocket-money costs, with cartoons and bubblegum flavour choices, are far too engaging and simple for youngsters to entry.”
Deborah Arnott, chief government of well being charity Ash, stated: “Floor-breaking laws to guard the subsequent era from smoking and vaping is required, needed and workable.
“This session will guarantee all voices are heard and the stability is struck between defending kids whereas nonetheless serving to grownup people who smoke give up.”
Atmosphere minister Rebecca Pow stated: “The size of the waste created by disposable vapes within the UK is surprising – business analysis reveals practically 5 million single-use vapes are thrown away each week.”
Dr Mike McKean, vice-president for coverage on the RCPCH, stated he’s “happy to see that Authorities is heeding our warnings on disposable vapes and is now actively contemplating a ban, in addition to wider restrictions on flavours, packaging, and commercial.”
David Fothergill, chairman of the Native Authorities Affiliation’s neighborhood wellbeing board, stated: “Disposable vapes are an inherently unsustainable product, that means an outright ban stays the best resolution to this downside.”
However the Unbiased British Vape Commerce Affiliation, which represents the business, stated its personal analysis reveals 56% of standard people who smoke imagine single use vapes assist individuals minimize down smoking.
Its chairman Marcus Saxton welcomed the session however stated there’s a threat “coverage goes too far and takes away a significant smoking cessation product when merely implementing current guidelines could be simply as impactful”.
He added: “As an business, we recognise that youth vaping must be tackled and we stand able to work with Authorities in the direction of this, and have beforehand instructed heavier fines and extra common imposing of these fines for many who flout the foundations.”