Ban on sweet vapes and e-cigarettes proposed to avert 'disaster in the making'

Certain types of vape could be banned in Scotland under plans proposed by the Scottish Greens <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Certain types of vape could be banned in Scotland under plans proposed by the Scottish Greens (Image: PA)

CERTAIN vapes may be banned in Scotland to "protect the health of children and young people”.

The Scottish Greens are set to propose plans to ban sweet-tasting vapes in the new year, with campaigners warning it is a “ticking time bomb” for young people's health.

The party’s health spokesperson, Gillian Mackay, said she is also prepared to pursue legislation to ensure the health of those most likely to be impacted is preserved.

She said there is growing concern that the number of under-age people being attracted by “deliberately sweet-toothed tactics” used to market the products is spiralling.

All politicians should heed the warnings of campaigners such as Ash Scotland, Mackay said, who warned of a ticking time bomb unless action is taken.

READ MORE: Rise in children vaping across Britain ‘influenced by social media’

The Central Scotland MSP said: “Scotland should be rightly proud of the huge steps forward taken bringing in a smoking ban in public places introduced in December 2004.

“But I fear the progress it brought is being unpicked by producers of e-cigarettes and vaping products using deliberately sweet-toothed tactics to target a new generation of users and we cannot stand idly by and just hope for the best.

“It cannot be right that these brands are promoting these products with berry, watermelon, mint and other flavours. It is a re-run of when alcopops first appeared on the scene and targeted teeny tipplers.”

Mackay (below) said with emerging evidence of the consequences that frequent use of these products is having, politicians must take steps to “protect our communities”, further stating that she will explore ways to restrict products which aim at a younger demographic of potential users.

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The Green MSP went on: “In the meantime, I am writing to the main supermarkets and leading retailers urging them to act responsibly and voluntarily to ensure such blatant marketing campaigns are unable to cause harm by restricting their product placement.

“Much in the way cigarettes are hidden from view to lessen their appeal, it is up to shops and stores to play their part in supporting the health of the nation before action is taken that will compel them to do so.”

Calling it a multi-million-pound industry, Mackay said vaping is leading the nation’s health down a path to “disaster” and that it is not a risk she or anyone else should be asked to accept.

In August, Ash Scotland’s chief executive Sheila Duffy highlighted the risk of cheap, brightly coloured, highly flavoured, and disposable vapes.

She said the marketing of products towards younger people is a “disaster in the making” and warned they were also “an environmental catastrophe” because of their disposable nature. They said data showed children as young as seven have used vapes, with at least 35% of 15-year-olds identified as being users.

Smokers’ rights group Forest called the proposal to ban the display or sale of "sweet-tasting vapes" in shops an “own goal”, an illiberal move, and counter-productive.

Simon Clark, the group’s director, said: “Restrictions on the sale or display of flavoured vapes would be a massive own goal because it would deter many smokers from switching voluntarily to a far less harmful product.

“Adults like flavours too, so restricting their choice of vapes is not only illiberal, it could be counter-productive in terms of public health.

“Banned or restricted flavours will almost certainly appear on the black market where unregulated and potentially more harmful products could be sold to children.”

He said the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s is already prohibited, further stating that hiding or banning flavoured vapes will not only infantilise adults of all ages, it will deny lawful consumers access to the products and information that may help them quit smoking.