The Local Government Association has released plans from councils to urge the government to ban single use vapes, with environmental and health concerns the driving factors.
Representing local councils across England and Wales, the LGA is calling on the government to ban the sale and manufacturing of the vapes by 2024, with urgency stemming from similar calls in Europe. The EU is proposing a ban on the products in 2026 and France are rolling out a ban this year and these plans could have the potential to flood the UK as other international markets close.
Problems arise from the way that the vapes are designed, with them being constructed as one unit. This results in the battery not being able to be separated from the plastic packaging, rendering them impossible to recycle without going through special treatment. Away from recycling troubles, the hazards caused for those collecting waste and litter are also an issue, with a fire risk present when the units are sat inside bin lorries, whilst being crushed also increases the chances of the lithium inside the batteries rising sharply in temperature and becoming flammable.
Should equipment become damaged, or special treatment be required due to the hazardous nature of the vapes, costs increase for the taxpayer, whilst also forcing communities to live with the items littering streets, thanks to the 1.3 million disposable vapes that are thrown away every week.
The way that disposable vapes appeal to children is also a major factor in the call for a ban. More and more children that have never smoked, are beginning vaping, and being drawn in by the designs and flavours, leading to call on the regulations in place surrounding the display and marketing of regular vaping products. The call to action on this referenced the ways that tobacco products are marketed and displayed, to warn of the dangers and become unattractive to children.
Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr David Fothergill, said:
“Councils are not anti-vapes, which are shown to be less harmful than smoking and have a place as a tool 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 little, 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, keep children safe and save taxpayers money.”
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