Disposable vapes to be banned in the UK by next year

In a bid to protect children’s health the British government will ban the sale of disposable vapes at the start of 2025. Colourful packaging and fruity flavours will also be restricted to prevent the appeal to new, young smokers.

Thred Media
3 min readFeb 9, 2024

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In the last few years, vaping has taken the world by storm.

It seems like you can’t walk down the street or sit on a pub terrace without puffs from a watermelon vapour wafting over from someone nearby. The sheer availability of sweet flavours and colourful packaging, as well as the ‘use and dispose’ nature of vapes, has made picking up the habit easier than ever.

A large portion of people who vape now had never smoked cigarettes before, while young people have been particularly vulnerable to the clever marketing tactics of vaping companies.

Their widespread use results in 5 million vapes being disposed of in the UK every week.

The number of young people who vape has risen in the last couple years, a noticeable jump from 4 percent in 2020. It is understood that 7.6 percent 11–17 year olds vape regularly or occasionally, with many children’s protection groups calling vaping a national health crisis.

Now, the British government has announced an incoming ban on disposable vapes effective from early 2025. It cited the need to protect children from developing nicotine addictions and to protect the environment from unnecessary pollution.

The incoming policy

The decision to ban disposable vapes in the interest of children follows a similar move from the government last year. It banned the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on or after January 1st 2009 in a bid to create a ‘smoke free generation’.

Addressing the incoming ban, 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.’

‘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.’

There were special considerations in implementing the policy in order to ensure that adults who smoke are able to access vaping products, which — despite little knowledge about their long-term effects — are still considered to be a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

These permissions will include continuing to sell traditional vape juices which are placed inside refillable device.

To enforce the incoming ban, shops in England and Wales that sell vapes illegally to children will be fined and trading standards officers will be granted powers to hand out on-the-spot fines.

Environmental consequences of vapes

Along with protecting children from starting to use nicotine products, the ban on disposable will likely help resolve adding to pollution.

The outer casing of disposable vapes are made from a kind of hard plastic which creates further demand for fossil fuel-based materials. They are also extremely difficult if not impossible to recycle.

Many vapes are also powered by lithium-ion batteries which contain metals such as cobalt, nickel, and manganese, which are toxic and can contaminate water supplies and ecosystems if they leach out of landfills.

Though tobacco companies, especially Elf Bar and its sister company Lost Mary, have expressed disappointment in the UK’s move to ban their products, it looks like it will be the best outcome for young people and the planet.

Disposable vapes may have only risen to popularity in recent years, but their environmental and social impacts are clearly causing more problems than they are worth. Perhaps the only way resolve these issues is to ban them completely.

Originally written by Jessica Byrne for Thred.

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