ASH Scotland urges outright ban of disposable e-cigarettes, following publication of Zero Waste Scotland’s review

30 June 2023

Health charity ASH Scotland is amplifying its calls for an outright ban on disposable e-cigarettes following the publication of Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Scoping policy options for Scotland focusing on understanding and managing the environmental impact of single use e-cigarettes’ review for the Scottish Government, published today (Friday 30 June 2023).

The review highlights that both the environmental impacts and health issues associated with the use of disposable e-cigarettes by young people are of concern worldwide; with several countries having already introduced, or considering introducing, bans on sales of the health-harming products, and some countries have restricted flavours. In the EU, clauses in its proposed Batteries Regulation, soon to be agreed, could lead to disposable e-cigarettes being prevented from being sold in current forms in its market from the end of 2026.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Now that Zero Waste Scotland’s report has been published and a ban on disposable e-cigarettes is, in our view, the clearest most workable option to tackle both the environmental impacts as well as the health concerns about children vaping, we strongly urge First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and his government to take immediate and decisive action to implement an outright ban of these products to protect the long-term health of young people in Scotland.

“Disposable vapes, which are often displayed alongside sweets in shops, come in colourful designs and sweet flavours which entice children to use the health harming products. Nicotine, which is included in many of these recreational disposable e-cigarettes, is highly addictive and the products also contain toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhalation and could seriously damage lung health over time.

“The Scottish Government has missed opportunities to introduce stringent restrictions on the advertising and promotion of recreational e-cigarettes since legislation to enable such measures was passed seven years ago, and we cannot afford to sacrifice the lung health of the next generation by taking only half-measures to reduce child vaping.

“The issue of disposable e-cigarettes and their calamitous impacts on children’s and youth addiction is prominent internationally with both France and Ireland consulting on bans. Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government should take this opportunity to reclaim Scotland’s position as a leading public health nation by prohibiting the sale or use of these products as early as 2024.

“By implementing a ban on disposable e-cigarettes, Scotland can start to address the alarming rise in young people vaping which is driven by these products, safeguard public health and mitigate the environmental impacts.”