ASH Scotland welcomes launch of UK-wide consultation on e-cigarettes but urges Scottish Government to take action now

12 October 2023

ASH Scotland welcomed today’s announcement by the UK Government that it is launching a joint UK-wide consultation ‘to create first smokefree generation and crack down on youth vaping’, whilst also calling on the Scottish Government to take immediate action to restrict the advertising and promotions of e-cigarettes.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We welcome the UK Government’s swift action following the Prime Minister’s proposals to reduce the appeal, affordability and availability of e-cigarettes to young people.

“The cheap cost of disposable e-cigarettes as well as their sweet flavours, vibrant colouring and packaging make them attractive to young people, and we have been concerned for some time that advertising portraying vaping products in a positive light is targeted at and noticed more by children than by adults.

“The tobacco industry is exploiting this by promoting recreational vaping products which are clearly appealing to children. These are health-harming, addictive products which are age-restricted for good reason, and we know that young people who experiment with e-cigarettes and have never smoked are up to three times more likely to start using cigarettes.

“The Scottish Government, enabled by the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 already has the power to restrict the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes so there is no need to wait for Westminster to trail through a long UK legislative process when important measures have already been fully debated and voted through by the Scottish Parliament, and consulted on again in November 2022 by the the previous Minister for Public Health.

“We urge the Scottish Government to act without delay to reduce the retail promotion and visibility of recreational vaping products – including at points of sale – on our high streets and in our communities to protect children and future generations.

“We are also calling for a full ban on disposable e-cigarettes which are addictive, harmful throwaway consumer products that increase the risks of young people who haven’t smoked going on to be addicted to nicotine and use tobacco and are environmentally disastrous.”