UK disposable vapes ban likely to become law after lack of objections | Vaping

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Plans to ban disposable vapes and gradually phase out the sale of tobacco to people of all ages in the UK appear likely to pass into law with minimal fuss as only a handful of Conservative MPs have objected to the proposals.

Both measures will be voted on in parliament, Downing Street confirmed. While Conservative MPs will be given a non-whipped free vote on the smoking ban, it remains to be decided whether this will also happen for vapes.

The ban on disposable vapes, along with action to combat the sale of some child-friendly fruit-flavoured varieties and restrictions on packaging and in-shop displays, would come into force late this year or in early 2025 via a mixture of a bill and secondary legislation.

The already announced ban on selling tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 will also be introduced as a law, potentially in the same bill as that connected to vaping.

Although Labour is likely to back both measures, meaning they are guaranteed to pass, Sunak might have expected a significant pushback from libertarian-minded Tory MPs. However, only Liz Truss publicly denounced the plans, calling the date-based tobacco ban “profoundly unconservative” and an extension of the “nanny state”.

Some other Tory MPs will probably vote against it in parliament, but have said they are not minded to make a significant fuss.

In a broadcast clip during a visit on Monday, Sunak responded: “I don’t think there’s anything unconservative about caring about our children’s health.

“I respect that some people will disagree with me on this but I think this is the right long-term thing for our country. Smoking causes one in four cancer deaths. It’s responsible for a hospital admission every minute.”

He added: “On smoking, there’s been a long tradition in parliament of these being free votes, which aren’t party political, people will have their own held views on that, that’s the same as it’s been in the past.”

A more meaningful fightback could come from the well-organised vaping industry, much of which has opposed the ban on disposable vapes – which is based largely on concerns the often cheap and colourful products are tempting for children and young people as well as the environmental impact.

Shares in vaping firms fell significantly on Monday, with trade groups saying the ban would affect adults trying to use vapes to give up smoking.

In contrast, the plan was welcomed by the National Association of Headteachers, which said disposable vapes had helped make vaping “normalised for some young people”, and by environmental groups.

The health secretary, Victoria Atkins, said ministers would consult on how best to implement the changes, including making sure firms did not try to skirt the ban by attaching charging points to disposable vapes.

“We will listen very carefully to suggestions that big tobacco and other vaping companies will somehow find a way around this,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“The motivation here is to help ensure that children and young people are not dragged into this addiction to nicotine.”