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Government targets vape crackdown: Restrictions on sales, flavours, and retail display

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The UK government has published a consultation following PM Rishi Sunak’s plans to create a ‘smoke-free generation’

At the Conservative Party Conference, PM Rishi Sunak pledged to raise the legal age every year to buy from those who were born in 2009.

The proposed changes also encompass heated tobacco products, recognized as smoke-free alternatives that heat, not burn, tobacco to produce a distinct nicotine-containing aerosol compared to traditional cigarette smoke.

The following move in a bid to “try and stop teenagers taking up cigarettes in the first place”, and bring in restrictions to stop young people from vaping.

PM Rishi Sunak spoke at the conference, “Last week I promised to create the first smoke-free generation and I am wasting no time to deliver on that promise.

“Our ambitious plans will reverse the worrying rise in youth vaping while protecting our children from the dangerous long-term effects of smoking as quickly as possible.”

While selling vapes to minors is already prohibited, recent data reveals a threefold increase in underage vaping over the past three years, with 20.5% of 11 to 17-year-olds having experimented with vaping in 2023, as reported by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Mark Drakeford, the first minister said that he was “attracted” to Australia’s policy of prohibiting the sale of vapes to pharmacies.

Instead, he said, “In Australia for example the only way you can get an e-cigarette is by prescription. You can’t buy them in shops.

“Only through a medical prescription as part of a supervised attempt to give up smoking are they available.

“And do you know, I would be attracted to that idea myself.”

However, there are pharmacists who run smoking cessation clinics and some sell vaping products.

Regarding the limitations on vape sales, Professor Claire Anderson, RPS President, remarked: “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society agrees that the advertising and marketing for sweet, disposable, flavoured e-cigarettes should be restricted in the same way as tobacco products to reduce the appeal to young people who have never smoked to start using e-cigarettes.

“Better enforcement of the age of sale regulations for e-cigarettes is also needed to prevent illegal use by those under 18 years old to prevent them from becoming addicted to nicotine at an early age.

“E-cigarettes are one of several harm reduction options for short-term use to encourage smokers to stop using tobacco products.

“They should be accessible to adults who smoke and wish to stop, but it’s important that people are advised of all the smoking cessation options available to them for the greatest chance of success.

“Local pharmacists regularly advise the public about how to stop smoking. The ultimate aim should be to support people to stop using e-cigarettes and to be free of nicotine addiction altogether.”

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