ASH Scotland calls for urgent action to shut down availability, visibility and flavours of e-cigarettes

06 December 2023

ASH Scotland today declared its support for proposals in the ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’ consultation, run by the UK Government and devolved administrations, to restrict e-cigarette flavourings, packaging and marketing as well as banning disposable vaping products to halt what leading respiratory paediatricians in Scotland have described as ‘fast becoming a vaping epidemic in the adolescent population’.

The health charity is troubled by World Health Organization (WHO) evidence suggesting young people who use e-cigarettes are up to three times more likely than those who do not to become addicted to nicotine and start smoking tobacco, and believes that no time should be lost by governments aiming to reduce the uptake of recreational vaping products – and especially single-use disposables which are impacting on both health and the environment.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity, ASH Scotland, said: “We welcome the commitment of the governments at Holyrood and Westminster to prioritise actions aimed at tackling the alarming upsurge of children using e-cigarettes which is a cause for great concern. The scale of this public health challenge demands the introduction of swift and robust measures to bring an immediate halt to the exponential rise in vaping amongst Scotland’s children and young people over the past few years.

“Children and young people are attracted to the taste and smell of fruit and sweet flavoured e-cigarettes, as well as the colourful engaging designs, packaging and marketing of vapes – especially disposables which can cost as little as £2 and are the vaping product of choice for the majority of youngsters. As most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which is extremely addictive, as well as toxic chemicals in the flavourings that have not been safety tested for inhalation and could damage lung health over time, we are advocating for the removal of all flavours except tobacco from these health harming products.

“We are also calling for an outright ban of single-use disposable e-cigarettes on both public health and environmental grounds and for other strong measures such as the standardisation of vaping device designs and packaging through preventing the use of imagery, colours and branding to reduce the attractiveness of products to children and for all e-cigarettes to be hidden from view in retail environments so that they can no longer be displayed at points-of-sale surrounded by confectionery.

“With the Scottish Government having already consulted on its proposed regulations to tighten rules on the advertising and promotions of recreational vaping products in 2022 and having legislation in place to enact measures, ASH Scotland is calling for regulations to be laid for parliament at the earliest opportunity as a vital step towards protecting the health of children now and future generations.”

The ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’ consultation closes at 23:59 tonight (Wednesday 6 December 2023).