A store selling vapes in Liverpool (c) Olivia Beatty
A store selling vapes in Liverpool (c) Olivia Beatty

Rishi Sunak’s announcement about banning disposable vapes is set to take a heavy toll on some businesses.

The decision has been made to help tackle the rising number of young people taking up smoking.

According to Action on Smoking and Health Charity, 7.6% of 11-17 year-olds now vape regularly – up from 4.1% in 2020. Many anti-smoking charities have welcomed the news.

However, Liam Humberstone, Technical Director of vape company Totally Wicked, said: “It is unfortunate for the huge number of adults that use the products instead of smoking, far more of them instead of children and I would have hoped they would have found a better way than prohibition.

“It is a big proportion of our revenues – I believe in our retail stores it is around 30-35% of our business.”

Vaping is less harmful than smoking, but the long-term effects are unknown as they are newer to the market. The vapour inhaled still contains the addicting ingredient nicotine found in cigarettes.

Jarod Cohen, Operation Director of e-Vapes, added: “The ban is a waste of time, and I think it is happening all a little bit too late.

“They should have considered this years ago as the problem has been around for a while, they should have tackled it much sooner.”

The news follows prime minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the ban that will restrict the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on or after January 1 2009.

Liam said: “It is certainly going to change our business, but we already work very hard to try and offer people alternatives to disposable vapes.

“We prefer our customers to use something that is refillable and therefore more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly, so it will have some effect on our business, but I think it will just speed up the transition of our customers from disposables to refillable which has been ongoing for a long time now.”

Despite 60% of e-Vapes business depending on disposable vapes, Jarod remains positive: “To some degree, we are expecting this to impact our business but hopefully, it will positively impact the business in the sense that people can regain trust in the vaping industry again.

“We have been going for 12 years now and when we started it was all about helping people convert from smoking so we are hoping this ban will help us get back on track.

“All this recent news of kids vaping puts a really bad image on the industry and makes business even harder.”

Liam and Jarod both feel the government are to face huge difficulty reducing youth uptake of vapes.

I don’t think the ban is the answer

Liam said: “I don’t think the ban will work, it will not be easy to enforce and the problem with something with a big consumer demand both from adults and children will just grow a black market.

“They are just prohibiting something that a lot of people want, and criminals love to find themselves a ready market for products people are very keen to get their hands on.”

Jarod added: “I don’t think the ban is the answer, I personally like many others in the industry think it would make much more sense to regulate the market, whether it is a licensed sort of situation where vape shops are the only ones allowed to sell vape products cutting out all the other rouge sellers.

“They are in almost every type of shop, supermarket, convenience store, so if you regulate who gets the supply that will then help regulate the market.”

The ban is set to be enforced in 2025 and once the timing has been confirmed retailers will have six months to implement the changes.

Additionally, fines will be brought in for any shops in England and Wales caught selling vapes illegally to children.

Featured image (c) Olivia Beatty


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