Image of a hooded figure smoking an e-cigarette depicting the UK government's youth vaping public consultation

Government launches public consultation on youth vaping

The government has launched a public consultation on youth vaping as the prime minister looks to progress the plans for his recently announced ‘smokefree generation’ legislation.

The consultation is open to anyone of any age in the UK and focuses on curbing the appeal, affordability and availability of e-cigarettes to children.

Included in the consultation is Rishi Sunak’s headline announcement of banning anyone born in 2009 or after from ever buying tobacco products.

The proposal came during Sunak’s keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference, where he highlighted how smoking is responsible for approximately a quarter of all cancer deaths.

The prime minister said: “Last week I promised to create the first smokefree generation and I am wasting no time to deliver on that promise.”

The government highlights however, it still recognises vaping as an effective tool to quit smoking and wants to continue supporting adult smokers to make the switch.

                                                                             Video credit: Canva

The proposals being consulted on include:

  • Outlawing anyone currently aged 14 and under from buying a tobacco product
  • Restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes to stop them being marketed towards children
  • Regulating where they are displayed in shops to ensure they are kept away from products that typically appeal to children (confectionery, for example)
  • Cracking down on the packaging so it is not targeted at children
  • Reducing the sales of disposable vapes due to environmental concerns
  • Exploring further bans for vapes that do not contain nicotine and other similar products like nicotine pouches
  • Increasing the price of vapes
  • Giving local authorities the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to enforce the age limit laws

Health secretary, Steve Barclay, commented: “There has been a surge in vaping amongst children, which is why we’re taking action to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes. Vapes should never be used by children and we’re committed to reversing this trend.”

The move has been backed by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with each government agreeing to join the consultation.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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