Cheap vapes bought from abroad may be banned under Rishi Sunak’s e-cigarette clampdown.
In efforts to stamp out the UK’s child vaping epidemic, the PM has pledged to ban disposable e-cigs completely.
Such devices – sold for as little as £3 and compared to highlighter pens because of their snazzy colours – are likely to be outlawed by early 2025.
Ministers are also reportedly considering introducing an import ban on single-use vapes, mirroring a similar scheme in Australia.
NHS Digital data, based on the smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England survey for the year 2021, showed 30 per cent of children in Yorkshire and the Humber have used a vape
Shock data earlier this year revealed a record 11.6 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds in Britain have now tried vaping. This is up on 7.7 per cent last year and twice as high as rates seen a decade ago, before the UK’s kid vaping epidemic blew up
Vapes, which are currently sold for as little as £3, have been compared to highlighter pens because of the snazzy displays in shops across the UK. Brands such as Elf Bar and Lost Mary are hugely popular among teenagers. The number of children using vapes in the past three years has tripled. Figures show nine per cent of children aged 11 to 15 now vape, with the long-term health impacts still unknown
It would stop youngsters being able to stock up on disposable e-cigs from foreign websites, by passing Britain’s impending ban, the Mirror reports. Ministers are still contemplating whether to slap vapes with a tax, according to the newspaper.
Under Mr Sunak’s wider crackdown, vapes are also expected to be limited to four flavours.
Nicotine-laden gadgets will also have to be sold in plain, tobacco-style packaging and displayed out of sight of kids.
New ‘on the spot’ fines will be brought in for shops caught illegally selling vapes to children, too.
The measures, which MPs still have to vote on before they are brought in, were announced yesterday after years of impassioned pleas to tackle the crisis.
The number of children using vapes in the past three years has tripled.
Figures show nine per cent of children aged 11 to 15 now vape, with the long-term health impacts still unknown.
This is despite sales of e-cigarettes to under-18s being banned.
Experts have welcomed the crackdown, saying that they ‘fully support’ the approach and were ‘extremely pleased’ to see restrictions on packaging.
But others have also cautioned that ‘legislation in this area should be nuanced and careful’, given vaping can help people who smoke tobacco cigarettes to quit.
Health campaigners have long called for much tougher regulations on marketing to children and a tax on the disposable vapes.
Mr Sunak said that the ban on disposable vapes — set to be enforced by early 2025 — was balanced and the ‘right’ action.
Both Germany and Ireland have outlined their own proposals to place restrictions on vapes, with the German government currently considering an outright ban on disposable e-cigarettes.
Separately, Australia has put in place measures to make vapes available only to those who have prescriptions.
MailOnline has been told that e-cigarette use is so rife in schools there has been an increase in fire engine callouts because so many pupils are vaping in toilets. Teenagers told this website they suffer regular coughing fits and have to use inhalers to breathe properly after just a year of regular e-cigarette use
Meanwhile, New Zealand has also set out restrictions that ban vape shops from being within 300 metres of a school and which ensure all vapes must have removable batteries.
In efforts to curb the UK’s teen vaping crisis, some secondary schools have already taken to installing devices to detect whether children are vaping.
Data released last March revealed some sensors are being set off up to 22 times a day.
E-cigs allow people to inhale nicotine in a vapour — which is produced by heating a liquid, which typically contains propylene glycol, glycerine, flavourings, and other chemicals.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, they do not contain tobacco, nor do they produce tar or carbon — two of the most dangerous elements.
Although widely viewed as safer than smoking, the long-term effects of vaping still remain a mystery.
Doctors have expressed fear there could be a wave of lung disease, dental issues and even cancer in the coming decades in people who took up the habit at a young age.
Last year leading paediatricians also warned children were being hospitalised with vaping-induced breathing difficulties amid a ‘disturbing’ youth vaping epidemic.
NHS figures show a rise in the number of children admitted to hospital due to vaping.
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Forty children and young people were admitted to hospital in England last year due to ‘vaping-related disorders’, which could include lung damage or worsening asthma symptoms, up from 11 two years earlier, the NHS said.
The vaping ban forms part of a wider range of proposals which also includes a ban on selling tobacco products to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, meaning kids would be barred from ever being able to legally buy cigarettes in the UK.
The full bill of measures appear likely to pass parliament into law with minimal fuss, despite criticism from a handful of Tories, liberal thinktanks and vaping groups.
Vocal nay-sayers include former PM Liz Truss who said the Government ‘should not be seeking to extend the nanny state’.
She added: ‘While the state has a duty to protect children from harm, in a free society adults must be able to make their own choices about their own lives.
‘Banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or later will create an absurd situation where adults enjoy different rights based on their birthdate.’