Single use vapes, such as Elf bars, Lost Mary and Juul should be banned on environmental and health grounds, councils say for the first time today.
This comes after a joint statement from Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health a few weeks ago also calling for a ban.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling for the Government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use vapes by 2024.
The LGA said it is crucial that that ban comes into effect rapidly, as with the EU proposing a ban in 2026 and France rolling out a ban in Dec 2023, there is a risk that as markets close disposable vapes will flood into the UK.
Disposable vapes are a hazard for waste and litter collection and cause fires in bin lorries.
Single use vapes are designed as one unit so batteries cannot be separated from the plastic, making them almost impossible to recycle without going through special treatment
The lithium batteries inside the plastic can sharply increase in temperature if crushed and can become flammable.
This comes at a cost to the council taxpayer through fire damage to equipment and the specialist treatment needed to deal with hazardous waste.
With 1.3 million disposable vapes thrown away every week, they have also become a regular and obvious item of litter on our streets.
Councils are also concerned about the impact vaping is having upon children and young people. It is worrying that more and more children – who have never smoked – are starting vaping.
Councils are especially concerned by the marketing of vapes with designs and flavours that could appeal to children, in particular those with fruity and bubble gum flavours, and colourful child-friendly packaging. Strict new measures to regulate the display and marketing of regular vaping products in the same way as tobacco are needed.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“Councils are not anti-vapes, which are shown to be less harmful than smoking and have a place as a tool to use in smoking cessation.
“However, disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.
“Single use vapes blight our streets as litter, are a hazard in our bin lorries, are expensive and difficult to deal with in our recycling centres. Their colours, flavours and advertising are appealing to children and the penalties for retailers selling them don’t go far enough.
“Councils urge the Government to take this action to protect our planet, keep children safe and save taxpayers money.”