Children ‘to be banned from buying cheap disposable vapes from abroad’ under Rishi Sunak’s war on child e-cig epidemic

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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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

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

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

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. 

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.’

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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