Disposable vapes should be restricted like tobacco, Tory MP claims

Disposable vapes should be restricted like tobacco in order to clamp down on UK’s kid e-cig epidemic, senior Tory MP claims

  • Tory MP says Government should consider plain packaging for e-cigarettes
  • He also called for review of enforcement powers to stop vape sales to children

MPs have called for heavier restrictions on the packaging and marketing of vapes to ‘tackle an alarming trend’ in the number of children using them.

The Health and Social Care Committee said the Government should consider bringing in plain packaging for e-cigarettes in line with other tobacco products.

It said it believes the messaging around vaping as a tool to help smokers quit can be maintained, but more should be done on education, enforcement and regulations to keep them out of the reach of children.

It also called for a review of the enforcement powers of trading standards to stop vapes being sold to children.

Steve Brine, chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said ‘decisive action is needed’ from Government and industry to ‘tackle an alarming trend in the number of children vaping and to protect them from its harmful effects’.

Steve Brine, chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said ‘decisive action is needed’ from Government and industry to ‘tackle an alarming trend in the number of children vaping and to protect them from its harmful effects’

The brightly coloured displays are seen in shops on Oxford Street labelled as toy, sweet and gift shops

He added: ‘It’s clear to us that the vaping industry has not gone far enough to ensure that its products don’t appeal to children.

‘When you have brightly-coloured and branded vapes with flavours that name unicorns, sweets and popular fizzy drinks displayed in locations ranging from newsagents to chicken shops, it’s disingenuous for the industry to claim otherwise.

‘We heard a wake-up call from a headteacher who told us that hydraulic oil and antifreeze, along with other extremely concerning chemicals, were found in a vape confiscated at her school.

READ MORE: Doctors warn of health impacts of second-hand VAPING: Study finds e-cigarettes spew out 22-TIMES the safe level of microscopic toxins

Authors of the report said their findings suggested that e-cigarette vapor, which seems innocuous compared to cigarette smoke, could pose health risks to more than just the vape user

‘Ministers need to focus, across government, on the impact vaping is having in our schools, whether that be setting off smoke alarms in toilets or restricting access to them entirely for young people. We’ve heard this issue is really impacting on the delivery of education in schools and, post-pandemic in particular, this is the last thing we can afford.’

The call from MPs comes after the British Medical Association (BMA) said it would review the dangers of vaping.

A motion was passed at the organisation’s annual representative meeting in Liverpool earlier in July which also said vapes should be sold in plain packaging.

At the time, Dr Ryan Devlin from the BMA’s Lothian division, said the number of young people using vapes is ‘staggering’ as they ‘should not have access to them’.

In June, NHS figures revealed 40 children and young people were admitted to hospital in England last year for ‘vaping-related disorders’, up from 11 two years earlier.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) also warned e-cigarettes ‘are not a risk-free product and can be just as addictive, if not more so, than traditional cigarettes’.

On Saturday, local authorities joined the call for an outright ban on disposable vapes.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said single-use e-cigarettes should be banned by 2024 on environmental and health grounds.

France is considering a ban by the end of 2023, with the European Union expected to follow suit in 2026.

Everything you need to know about e-cigarettes 

How much nicotine is in an e-cigarette?

There are many different brands of e-cigarettes, containing various different nicotine levels.

The legal amount of nicotine in an e-liquid capacity in the UK is 20mg/ml equating to between 600 and 800 puffs.

The Elf Bar 600, one of Britain’s most popular vapes, is advertised as coming in nicotine strengths of 0mg, 10mg and 20mg. 

How many cigarettes are ‘in’ an e-cigarette? 

The Elf Bar 600 contains the equivalent to 48 cigarettes, analysts say. 

It delivers 600 puffs before it needs to be thrown away, meaning, in theory, every 12.5 puffs equate to one cigarette.

Experts say for many e-cigarettes, 100 puffs equate to ten normal cigarettes. 

Elf Bars are a brand of e-cigarettes often sold in snazzy colours and with child-friendly names and flavours, like blue razz lemonade and green gummy bear

Is vaping better for your health than cigarettes?

Vaping products are considered to be better than cigarettes as users are exposed to fewer toxins and at lower levels, according to the NHS.

The health service adds that vaping instead of smoking cigarettes reduces your exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease and diseases of the heart and circulation, such as strokes and heart attacks. 

Public Health England, which is now defunct, published an expert independent review in 2015 concluding that e-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes.

However vaping is not risk-free, as while levels in tobacco-products are much higher, e-cigarettes still contain harmful toxins, according to a study by researchers from the Medical University of Silesia in Poland.

And Dr Onkar Mudhar, a London dentist who posts videos on TikTok, said Elf bars can cause gum inflammation, swelling and bleeding.

He said this is because nicotine dries out your mouth and reduces saliva, causing irritation from a build-up of bacteria and food that can’t get washed away.

Nearly 350 hospitalisations due to vaping were logged in England in 2022, which are thought to be mainly down to respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, lung inflammation and, in severe cases, respiratory failure. 

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