Disposable e-cigarettes are set to be banned across the UK in a bid to stop children getting hooked on the devices, the Government confirmed today.

The plans are also expected to see vapes restricted to just four flavours, sold in plain packaging and displayed out of sight. 

While health chiefs have hailed vapes as a safer alternative to cigarettes and recommend them to help smokers quit, use of them has soared among youngsters.

Top doctors have warned the trend risks a wave of ill health in the future. 

Campaigners have blamed eye-catching ads for vapes on social media and flavours, such as strawberry, banana and mango, for luring kids in.

Here, MailOnline sets out all you need to know about the expected ban.

Disposable e-cigarettes are set to be banned across the UK in a bid to stop children getting hooked on the devices, the Government confirmed today

Disposable e-cigarettes are set to be banned across the UK in a bid to stop children getting hooked on the devices, the Government confirmed today 

The plans, confirmed by the Prime Minister today (pictured), will also see vapes restricted to four flavours, sold in plain packaging and display them out of children's sight

The plans, confirmed by the Prime Minister today (pictured), will also see vapes restricted to four flavours, sold in plain packaging and display them out of children’s sight

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

Why are disposable vapes being banned? 

Officials said the ban will tackle youth vaping rates and protect children’s health.

E-cigarettes, which can cost just £3, have become a must-have gadget among kids.

One in five secondary school children now have tried vaping, according to data from the School Health Research Network, released in September.

Kids as young as eight have picked up the habit, according to Trading Standards.

The Government said disposable vapes have been a key driver behind this trend. 

They are sold in flavours such as strawberry ice cream, cotton candy and cherry cola, while some brands also feature cartoon characters.

The ban is expected to come into force at the end of 2024 or the start of 2025. 

READ MORE: Inside Britain’s child vaping epidemic

MailOnline exposes the predatory marketing tactics of vape retailers accused of preying on kids, with their pervasive schemes so successful that officials are now proposing an outright ban

MailOnline exposes the predatory marketing tactics of vape retailers accused of preying on kids, with their pervasive schemes so successful that officials are now proposing an outright ban  

Will a ban work? 

Experts have hailed the ‘landmark plans’ as ‘nothing but good news’. 

Dr Mike McKean, vice president for policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said: ‘Bold action was always needed to curb youth vaping and banning disposables is a meaningful step in the right direction.’

Dame Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner for England, said the move will tackle the normalisation of vaping among children.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said: ‘We are committed to doing more to protect our children from illicit underage vaping, and by banning disposable vapes we’re preventing children from becoming hooked for life.’

Councillor David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said the products are ‘inherently unsustainable’, ‘blight our streets as litter’ and are difficult to recycle. An outright ban ‘remains the most effective solution to this problem’, he added. 

Libby Peake, head of resource policy at Green Alliance, said the ban ‘can’t come soon enough’ to protect future generations’ health and the planet. 

‘This bold move by the government is nothing but good news,’ she added.

However, Mr Sunak has faced criticism for his wider smoke-free Britain plans, which would ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009. 

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss yesterday said the move was ‘profoundly unconservative’.

She said: ‘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.

A Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2023 health report showed 12.7 per cent of Brits over the age of 15 smoke cigarettes daily, far higher than the US and New Zealand

A Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2023 health report showed 12.7 per cent of Brits over the age of 15 smoke cigarettes daily, far higher than the US and New Zealand

‘A Conservative government should not be seeking to extend the nanny state.

‘This will only give succour to those who wish to ban further choices of which they don’t approve.’

Former trade minister Sir Edward Leigh also last year said he would vote against the ‘ridiculous’ measure.

Why is the Government acting now? 

The proportion of 11 to 17-year-old vapers has surged nine-fold in just two years, leading the Government to take action now before vaping becomes endemic. 

Officials hope banning vapes, restricting the flavours they are sold in, introducing plain packaging, forcing shops to display them out of sight children and new on-the-spot fines for retailers that sell vapes to kids will reverse the trend. 

HISTORY OF SMOKING POLICY IN THE UK 

2004: Ireland bans smoking in enclosed public places, including pubs, clubs and restaurants 

2006: Scotland implements smoking ban on indoor public spaces

2007: England, Wales and Northern Ireland bring in indoor ban. In England, smoking is banned in almost all enclosed public spaces and the NHS goes smoke-free. Legal age to buy cigarettes raised from 16 to 18

2008: Cigarette companies told to feature pictorial health warnings on packets

2010: Government announces it will enforce tobacco display ban and consider plain packaging for tobacco products

2015: Smoking in cars with children banned in England and ban on the display of tobacco in small shops comes into force throughout the UK

2017: Government issues target to reduce smoking prevalence among adults to 12 per cent or less by 2022

2019: Department of Health publishes plans to make England smoke-free by 2030

2020: Menthol cigarettes are banned in the UK and EU

It also adds to Mr Sunak’s anti-smoking legacy. 

A bill to make Britain smoke-free is expected to be debated in early February.

It would see the legal smoking age rise by one year every year, meaning anyone under the age of 14 today would never be able to legally smoke.

Mr Sunak said: ‘As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic.

‘The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.

‘As Prime Minister I have an obligation to do what I think is the right thing for our country in the long term. That is why I am taking bold action to ban disposable vapes – which have driven the rise in youth vaping – and bring forward new powers to restrict vape flavours, introduce plain packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops.

‘Alongside our commitment to stop children who turn 15 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, these changes will leave a lasting legacy by protecting our children’s health for the long term.’

What are the flavours that vapes can be sold as? 

Mr Sunak confirmed that he will bring forward powers to restrict vape flavours.

Officials have not yet confirmed which ones would still be available.

Ministers are thought to be considering tobacco, mint, menthol and fruit but are still considering the knock-on effects this could have for adult smokers turning to vapes to quit cigarettes, The Times reported.

Experts have long warned that sweet and fruit flavoured options, such as strawberry, banana and mango, are appealing to kids. 

Will bland packaging also help stop kids vaping? 

Vape manufacturers could be forced to sell their products in plain packaging, under the Government’s plans.

Officials said this will make the products ‘less visually appealing’ but the exact details of the rules on packaging have not yet been detailed.

Tests on e-cigarettes confiscated from youngsters found they contained dangerous levels of lead, nickel and chromium. Some were almost ten times above safe limits. Exposure to lead can impair brain development, while the other two metals can trigger blood clotting

Tests on e-cigarettes confiscated from youngsters found they contained dangerous levels of lead, nickel and chromium. Some were almost ten times above safe limits. Exposure to lead can impair brain development, while the other two metals can trigger blood clotting

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

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 

As it stands, the products are often sold in bright colours, resembling highlighters, with some even carrying sweets branding and cartoons. 

Standardised packaging was fully rolled out for tobacco in the UK in 2017, despite being first suggested in 2008. The policy ordered manufacturers to remove brand images, bright colours and promotions from tobacco products.

Research from the University of Oxford and University of Bath suggest the move reduced smoking rates. However, tobacco manufacturers dispute this.

Dr Mike McKean, of the RCPCH, said he was ‘extremely pleased’ to see restrictions on packaging to help curb youth vaping.

Millions knocked off value of disposable vape firms ahead of ban

Shares in vaping firms tumbled on Monday morning after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the devices will be banned in Britain.

Chill Brands saw shares slide by as much as 35 per cent in early trading as a result, while rival business Supreme saw shares drop around 12 per cent.

Chill’s market value had fallen by over £3million, with over £10million knocked off Supreme’s valuation during the morning trading session.

The announcement forms part of the Government’s response to its consultation on smoking and vaping, which was launched in October.

The ban is expected to come into force at the end of 2024 or the start of 2025.

On Monday, Chill Brands, which makes nicotine-free vapes and CBD products, stressed that it is ‘committed to strict compliance with all relevant laws’.

Callum Sommerton, chief executive officer of Chill, said it will continue to sell its products across UK and US retailers but they are prepared to adjust to rule changes.

He said: ‘The vaping landscape is constantly evolving, creating opportunities for businesses that are able to navigate the regulatory environment.

‘The Chill brand has gained rapid traction with the support of major retailers, and I am confident that it will continue to do so as we move forward with our plans to launch reusable pod system vapes.

‘Chill Brands Group is an agile company, and we are prepared to adjust to any legislation that may be enacted.’

Rival Supreme, which has brands including 88Vape, also saw its shares knocked by the announcement.

The company, which has yet to comment on the latest announcement, said in October that it was ‘fully supportive of any further legislation in the sector’.

Henry Gregg, director of external affairs at Asthma + Lung UK, said brightly-coloured packaging has contributed to the increase in under-18s taking up vaping.

He said ‘immediate action’ is needed to restrict packaging, which along with rules on flavours and displays in shops, will ‘reduce their appeal and availability to children’.

What else is the Government doing in its vaping crackdown? 

As well as banning vapes and placing restrictions on their flavours and packaging, the Government will set out restrictions on where they can be displayed. 

Full details of this measure have not been set out but will involving changing ‘how vapes are displayed in shops so they don’t appeal to children’.

They must be placed ‘out of sight of children and away from products that appeal to them like sweets’, under the Government’s proposals.

MailOnline’s expose last spring revealed that shops on Oxford Street were selling imported sweets, such as Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers and Sour Apple Laffy Taffy, just metres away from similarly-sounding flavoured vapes, such as Grape Apple, Blue Fruits and Bubblegum. 

Other measures aim to clamp down on vapes being sold to children and from illegal varieties entering the UK in the first place. 

Trading standards officers will be empowered to issue new on-the-spot fines for retailers that sell vapes to kids, under the vape crackdown. This is on top of the maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.

Additionally, the Government will give an extra £30million to enforcement agencies – including Border Force, HM Revenue and Customs and Trading Standards – to implement these measures and stamp out opportunities for criminals.

Are vapes safe? 

While health chiefs insist that vapes are safer than cigarettes, they are not risk-free. 

E-cigarettes contain harmful toxins and their long-term effects remains a mystery.

Some doctors fear a wave of lung disease and even cancer in the coming decades due to vaping.

Experts are also concerned the high nicotine content might increase blood pressure and cause other heart problems.

Freedom of Information requests revealed that 24 children in England were hospitalised due to vaping since the start of 2022. These could include lung damage or a worsening of asthma symptoms.

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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