Today the Government has issued its response to the public consultation on youth vaping.1 Responding to measures announced, to stop youth vaping and create a ‘smoke-free generation’, Dr Penelope Toff, chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, said:
“This is very good news - for some time now the BMA has been calling for an outright ban on all disposable vapes, so it’s encouraging to see the Government listening to us, other organisations and the majority of the consultation respondents.2 As doctors, we are only too aware of the harm these products can cause to children and young people, as well as adults, through nicotine addiction, exposure to toxins and as a potential gateway to tobacco products.
“Single-use, disposable vapes - which cause serious damage to the environment - are often brightly coloured, relatively inexpensive, and come in sweet-shop inspired flavours. While using vapes and e-cigarettes - ideally combined with psychological support - can help some people to quit smoking, it is clear that many of these products are being strategically marketed towards children.
“We hope that this ban, along with other key actions will help put a stop to children picking up the addictive habit of vaping, being exposed to preventable physical and psychological harm and ultimately contribute to eliminating the risks of tobacco use in further generations.
“Banning disposables alone simply won’t be enough. The government is also right to put forward new measures to curb the marketing strategies associated with rechargeable vapes, including limitations on flavours, packaging designs, and in-store displays, which will reduce their appeal to children. It is vital that these measures are delivered swiftly and are robust enough to ensure that rechargeable vapes do not simply replace disposable ones amongst children and young people. Adequate and recurrent funding for smoking cessation services and for enforcement of the legislation will also be key.”
Professor David Strain, BMA Board of Science chair, said:
“We are delighted that the Government has taken bold steps to address smoking, including proposals to raise the age of tobacco sale. Smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of ill health and premature death. It is the biggest cause of cancer across the globe, and we know that it causes at least 15 different types of cancer.3 It places a huge burden on our NHS, and wreaks havoc in the lives of those afflicted and their families.
“As doctors, we’re committed to protecting the health of the public, both in the present and for generations to come. Efforts today pave the way for a tomorrow where future generations will enjoy the life-extending and life-enhancing advantages of a smoke-free society. With each step forward, we inch closer to what once seemed like a utopian vision.”
Notes to editors
GOV.UK - 69% of respondents favoured restrictions on the sale of disposable vapes
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.