Fruity and sweet flavoured disposable vapes could be banished from shop shelves in Britain following concerns they are being targeted at young people.
The e-cigarettes come in a wide range of flavours such as Apple Peach, Cotton Candy Ice, Pink Grapefruit and Strawberry Kiwi, all of which could appeal to a user of any age.
Last year, the NHS revealed that 9 percent of 11 to 15 year olds used e-cigarettes in 2021; an increase from 6 percent three years earlier. It is currently against the law in the UK to sell nicotine vaping products to under-18s, or for adults to buy the products on behalf of someone underage.
Amid the concerns surrounding e-cigarettes, The Sun has reported that Public Health Minister Neil O’Brien could restrict access to the nicotine products for under 18s, potentially resulting in the disappearance of popular fruity flavours from shelves.
O'Brien is set to launch a call for evidence ahead of moving to restrict the products, with the review considering the 'appearance and characteristics' of products on the market including branding, marketing, colour and flavours.
The review will also look into how certain products are advertised on social media, questioning whether they could be deliberately targeting young people.
Commenting on the possibility of vapes being banned, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told LADbible: “Smoking kills, so our priority is to prevent people smoking, and supporting them to quit. The government remains committed to our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.
“However, while vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults, we are concerned about the rise in youth vaping, particularly the increasing use of disposable vaping products.
“We are exploring a range of measures to address this – including clamping down on children accessing vapes illegally, and those who are getting them hooked on nicotine. It’s right for the government to do all it can to protect children from addiction.”
The public health minister is expected to launch a consultation on how best to protect the youth in a speech made early next month on the topic of smoking.
Also in the speech, O'Brien will reportedly respond to an independent review by Dr Javed Khan OB, which looked into the government’s ambition to make England and Wales smoke free by 2030; a goal which will be met when adult smoking prevalence falls to 5 percent or less.
Dr. Khan's review included suggestions such as 'mandating anti-smoking messages on cigarette sticks', and using 'dissuasive colours (like green or brown)' to make cigarettes in a bid to make them less attractive to users.
The organisation Action on Smoking and Health determined in a report released last year that children under 16 are least likely to try e-cigarettes, with 10.4 percent of 11-15 year olds having tried vaping, compared to 29.1 percent of 16-17 year olds.
However, it did notice an increase in the number of 11-17 year olds who tried vaping in 2022, at 15.8 percent, compared to 11.2 percent in 2021 and 13.9 percent in 2020.
The NHS describes vaping as 'a way for adults to stop smoking – not something for non-smokers, especially children and young people to try'.
"Vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking but that does not mean it is harmless," it adds.