Disposable vapes will be banned across the UK, as the government says they have been a key driver in the rising numbers of young people vaping, and following concerns about the environmental damage that they are causing when thrown away.
A law to restrict vaping was promised by the UK government in last year’s King Speech and forms part of its wider proposals to gradually eliminate smoking, “Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation”. The Scottish and Welsh governments are also committed to enacting laws to ban disposable vapes.
The government consulted on these plans and it has now published its response. The consultation showed overwhelming support for measures to limit the availability of disposable vapes: 80% said there should be some kind of restriction on their sale and 69% were in favour of a ban. Respondents included parents, teachers, healthcare professionals. When the law is introduced, there will be a six-month implementation period.
The Prime Minister, Rishi 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.”
Further measures to reduce the appeal of vapes
As part of the new law the government will introduce powers to restrict the flavours of vapes, which it said are specifically marketed at children, and ensure that manufacturers produce plainer, less visually appealing packaging. The powers will also allow government to change how vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of sight of children and away from products that appeal to them, like sweets.
To crack down on underage sales, the government will bring in new fines for shops in England and Wales which sell vapes illegally to children. Trading standards officers will be empowered to act ‘on the spot’ to tackle underage tobacco and vape sales. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.
Additionally, vaping alternatives, such as nicotine pouches, will be outlawed for children as the government said they are increasingly turning to these highly addictive substitutes.
Creating a smokefree generation
In addition to the measures on vaping, it will soon be illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009. This means that children turning 15 this year or younger can never legally be sold tobacco.
The government said that stopping young people from ever starting to smoke would protect an entire generation from smoking harms as they grow up.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: ““Stillbirths, cancer, asthma, dementia, stroke and heart failure – smoking causes disability and death throughout the life course. If passed, this legislation would have a major public health impact across many future generations.”
Helping schools now to combat vaping
It will take time for the government to enact the law to ban disposable vapes and UK schools have found they need to tackle the growing numbers of their students who are vaping right now. Staff training, student education and developing the right policies will help, but many schools have found vape detectors are the key to success in tackling vaping among students. You can find out more in our guide for schools.
We offer the HALO Smart Sensor which uses a dynamic vape detection algorithm to automatically learn the environment and alert when vaping is detected. The HALO is also the only product that can alert and differentiate between vaping, vaping with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is found in cannabis, and intentionally masking vaping behaviour, for example, by using aerosols to cover up vaping. The Halo Smart Sensor is also the only sensor on the market that can detect ‘Heat Not Burn’ vapes, ensuring the Halo can detect all varieties of vapes.
We have had positive feedback from schools who have installed HALO Smart Sensors. For example, Charlotte Slattery, Deputy Head of St Joseph’s College, in Stoke-on-Trent said: “I had dithered about it for over 12 months due to the cost but it has been transformational for us.”
She added, ““Being able to identify students who are vaping has also allowed us to have much more meaningful conversations with our young people about the dangers of vaping and garner support from parents. This is helping us to have open dialogue with students that we hope will become more of a proactive message, in time, rather than a reactive one.”
HALO Smart Sensor: Tackling the anti-social behaviour caused by vapes
As our customer Baxter College found, vaping in the school toilets caused bad behaviour and vandalism, as well as impacting lessons, and they needed to tackle these wider issues. Matthew Carpenter, Principal at the secondary school in Kidderminster, said the main benefit of the HALO Smart Sensors has been the improved behaviour and learning environment.
Commenting on the positive impact of the HALO, he said: “It has transformed the amount of antisocial behaviour in toilets, children are more confident in going to the toilets. It has also reduced the number of students asking to go to the toilet during lessons.”
The HALO is a POE device so it has a networked internet connection, rather than relying on Wi-Fi, and the power cable is more secure preventing students simply pulling devices off the ceiling and unplugging them, which has been reported by a number of schools who have fitted other devices.
Additionally, if students become suspicious of a new sensor within a toilet block there is a potential that they will become a target for the students to tamper with or they may try and remove the vape detector. The HALO Smart Sensor will detect if it is being interfered with and a notification will be sent seconds after the detection. The device has an IK 10 rating making it vandal resistant.
The HALO also detects aggression through monitoring abnormal noise levels and recognised keywords that are used for calls for help. These features are useful for tackling vaping when it is associated with intimidation or other poor behaviour by students.
Get in touch to find out more
The government’s plan to ban disposable vapes will be welcomed by parents and teachers. However, schools need to address the issue now, so if you would like to know more about how the HALO Smart Sensor can help your school to combat vaping, and help reduce anti-social behaviour, please contact us.