Scotland to ban single-use vapes and increase tobacco age
New data shows the number of children vaping in the last three years has tripled across the UK, with the use among younger children also rising, with 9 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds now using vapes. The same rules will be introduced across Scotland, England and Wales.
It will become illegal for anyone born after January 1 2009 to by tobacco in Scotland, under the new rules. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a similar plan last year, achieving it by raising the age of sale of tobacco products by one year every year.
Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “Smoking damages lives and kills more than 8,000 people a year in Scotland and is burden on our NHS and social care services. Research also suggests that almost one in five adolescents have tried vapes.
“We want to do more to achieve our goal of being tobacco-free in Scotland by 2034 and after collaborating on the UK-wide consultation, we have worked closely across the four UK nations on next steps and now intend to act on taking forward its recommendations, either on a UK-wide basis or through legislation in the Scottish Parliament.
“I have worked closely with Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater on disposable vapes. These are a threat to both public health and the environment – from litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities - that’s why we will act on our Programme for Government commitment and move to ban them.”
New powers will also be introduced to restrict flavours which are specifically marketed at children and ensure that manufacturers produce plainer packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of children’s sight.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic.
“The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.
“As Prime Minister I have an obligation to do what I think is the right thing for our country in the long term. That is why I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes – which have driven the rise in youth vaping – and bring forward new powers to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops.
“Alongside our commitment to stop children who turn 15 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, these changes will leave a lasting legacy by protecting our children’s health for the long term.”