Glasgow Councillors call for ban on single-use disposable vapes like Elf Bars due to health and environmental concerns

Products like Elf Bars could soon be taken off store shelves
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Glasgow councillors have backed calls for a ban on the sale of disposable vapes due to health and environmental concerns.

The Scottish Government has commissioned a review of the impact of single-use vapes after campaigners called for action over littering of e-cigarettes, which include lithium batteries.

Councillor Jon Molyneux, Greens, presented a motion to an environment committee meeting today, amended by Councillor Jill Brown, Labour, which gained cross-party support for a ban.

Glasgow’s decision comes after Dundee City Council became the first local authority in Scotland to back a campaign to stop the sale of disposable vapes in late February.

Councillor Molyneux gave credit to campaigner Laura Young, who has been pushing for a ban.

His motion, seconded by Councillor Holly Bruce, also asked council staff to prepare a communications campaign to highlight “the environmental and health impacts of single-use vapes.”

Environment committee members voiced concerns that brightly coloured and sweetly flavoured single-use vapes are designed to appeal to underage users, and could damage their health through regular use.

Although safer than smoking, vapes still contain nicotine. Trading standards officers in Glasgow seized more than 13,000 non-compliant single-use vapes in the final three months of last year.

However, just two £200 fines have been handed out for sales to underage customers as the council’s test volunteers got too old during the pandemic. New volunteers are being recruited now.

Councillor Paul McCabe, SNP, said: “In five minutes, 600 of these in the UK will be disposed of. It’s quite a frightening statistic. When you look at the make-up of some of these vape pens, they are not environmentally friendly.”

He asked for the council to write to the Scottish Government to support a ban due to concerns over access to single-use vapes for younger people, the health implications and the environmental impact.

Councillor McCabe also called on council officials to raise awareness of the dangers of single-use vapes and highlight how to dispose of them appropriately.

Councillor Bruce asked what action the council is taking to restrict the sale of single-use vapes.

“There are certain types of business within the city centre and further afield that sell vaping products within shops that are targeted towards children,” she said.

A council official said currently businesses can sell the products if they are registered with the Scottish Government. However, he said it should be looked into as the council has been “made aware recently of a frozen food shop starting to sell single-use vapes.”

Councillor Jim Kavanagh, Labour, said he was “disappointed” only two fines have been issued.

He added: “We need to look at the penalties for it as well.”

“It’s not just the environment we are talking about here, we’re killing kids. It’s nicotine and nicotine kills.”

Elf Bar disposable vape flavored vaping e-cigarette products.Elf Bar disposable vape flavored vaping e-cigarette products.
Elf Bar disposable vape flavored vaping e-cigarette products.

After the meeting, Councillor Elaine McSporran, SNP, who chaired the committee, said more and more disposable vapes are “littering our streets and green spaces.”

She urged the Scottish Government to “act now to avert a dual disaster in the future.”

She said: “They are made of plastic which takes decades to degrade and can end up in our rivers and oceans where it is a threat to wildlife and can get into the food chain. They are also powered by lithium batteries which contain corrosive and flammable chemicals.”

“Their apparent marketing towards younger people with sweet flavours and brightly coloured packaging is another concern as more and more young people seem to be using them.”