ACS Urges Government to Focus on Better Enforcement over Blunt Instruments in Response to Plans for Vape Ban

ACS has called for better enforcement of existing regulations in response to the Government’s announcement that it is to ban disposable vapes.

In an announcement today, the Government has published the responses to its consultation on ‘creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’, outlining plans to go ahead with a ban on single use vapes and a range of other restrictions.

Proposals from the Government would also see stricter controls on the refillable vaping market, with restrictions on characterising colours and flavours, the location in store that vapes are permitted to be sold, and the packaging that vapes are sold in, although these are all subject to further consultation.

Central to the Government’s plans is a ban on the sale of tobacco for anyone born after  1st January 2009, with the intention of creating a ‘smoke-free generation’.

A summary of the Government’s proposals includes

  • make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products

  • prohibit proxy sales in line with the change in age of sale legislation

  • include all tobacco products, herbal smoking products and cigarette papers, in scope

  • require warning notices in retail premises to read “it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009” when the smokefree legislation comes into effect

  • introduce a ban on disposable vapes after an implementation period of at least six months

  • restrict vape flavours

  • restrict how vapes are displayed in stores

  • restrict packaging and product presentation for vapes

  • apply the above restrictions on vaping to non-nicotine vapes and other consumer nicotine products such as nicotine pouches

  • introduce a new £100 fixed penalty notice for breaches of age of sale rules for tobacco and nicotine products

The Government intends these measures to be taken forward in secondary legislation which will be subject to further consultation. The Government has also noted that there is a strong case to take action to reduce the affordability of vapes and is continuing to consider options, including a new duty, to achieve this. 

In response to the announcements today, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “There are rules already in place to stop children purchasing vapes, to stop vapes being littered and ensure they can be recycled, and to punish those who sell illicit products but they are either not being enforced effectively or not at all due to a lack of resources provided to trading standards. The Government's proposals will have a significant operational and financial impact on legitimate retailers, while rogue sellers will continue on without concern.”

The proposals come just weeks after the rules on recycling in stores changed, with all stores selling vapes now being required to offer a recycling facility for customers. Retailers can offer this facility on a 1:1 basis, meaning that a customer can return an old vape to be recycled when they purchase a new one. ACS has produced detailed guidance on the rules, which is available here.

ACS has consistently called for stronger enforcement against rogue vape sellers, launching a campaign last summer to highlight the importance of a robust Challenge25 policy for vaping products to support responsible retailers, and focusing its Assured Advice guide on vaping on educating the convenience sector about how to identify illicit or illegal products.

Research conducted at the end of 2022 showed that 61% of Trading Standards officers don’t believe they have the resources to deal with the illicit market effectively.

ACS’ response to the Government’s consultation on tobacco and vaping, submitted in December, is available here.

The full consultation response from the Department of Health is available here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Mon, 29/01/2024 - 14:02