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Opinion: Ban on disposable vapes obviously right thing to do despite black market fears, says Secret Thinker

It’s not often I feel sorry for the government, but this latest nonsense with disposable vapes perfectly demonstrates how it can’t win whatever it does.

Bringing in a ban on these lethal products to protect children’s health is obviously the right thing to do, but even before the Prime Minister’s announcement went out on the evening news, he was already being damned by naysayers accusing him of opening up the black market.

A woman using a disposable vape. Picture: iStock
A woman using a disposable vape. Picture: iStock

Shocking statistics reveal the number of children using vapes has tripled in just three years so ambitious plans to ban disposable vapes, restrict vape flavours and introduce plain packaging should be applauded.

Far from having a positive impact, the creation of, and massive development of, vaping products has created a whole new young generation addicted to nicotine.

This new law aims to reverse this but some opponents claim it will be totally ineffective as it will lead to a rise in the black market with a flood of unregulated illicit products.

Whilst I accept it is important to recognise this potential danger, and guard against it, surely it would be ludicrous not to take positive action purely for fear of allowing criminals to dictate to us.

Disposable vapes are to be outlawed under government plans
Disposable vapes are to be outlawed under government plans

The solution then is simple - introduce the new legislation and, at the same time, make sure the penalties for those caught importing illegal products are increased to a level where they prove effective.

However, a closer look at these so-called ‘opponents’ - otherwise listed as industry experts - who fear an increasing black market, suggests this may not actually be a problem at all.

From what I can tell everyone raising concerns about the new legislation is directly invested in this trade, which has single-handedly done more to threaten the health of children than anything else.

Disposable vapes have led to the proportion of 11 to 17-year-old vapers using them increasing almost nine-fold in the past two years.

The government has announced plans to ban disposable vapes
The government has announced plans to ban disposable vapes

So fines for shops which illegally sell vapes to children being increased to £2,500, with trading officers empowered to hand out on the spot fines, should help, but I suspect it may not be enough on its own.

We know smoking is this country’s biggest preventable killer but we still have no clue the level of damage vaping does to children, so introducing anything which will help combat this hidden danger should be welcomed.

Having said all this and quite rightly concentrated on the future lives of our children, I need to be honest and say even if it had zero health benefits I’d still welcome the new law unreservedly – and that’s speaking environmentally.

If this ban means I will no longer have to extract scores of disgusting disposable vapes from the bottom of my front hedge, I’ll be happy.

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