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Superdrug to halt single-use vape sales in UK, Ireland due to environmental concerns

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British pharmacy chain Superdrug has announced plans to cease the sale of disposable vapes in all its UK and Ireland stores, citing the environmental impact caused by its disposal and popularity among young people.

The pharmacy retailer will discontinue selling brands like Vuse GO and Flavaah Bars, with plans to completely clear out existing stock by the end of the year, the company said in statement.

Superdrug, which previously sold 1,300 single-use vapes weekly, expects a potential impact on revenue stemming from this decision. The company has not yet started selling vapes online.

“This decision was made to safeguard the environment,” the company said on Sept.22, highlighting the risk of fires due to improper disposal of vapes, as many of them contain lithium batteries.

“The rate that consumers are using single-use vapes and discarding them is worrying and alarming for the environment,” said Lucy Morton-Channon, Head of Environment, Social and Governance at Superdrug. Many of these single use vapes contain lithium batteries, which should be disposed of responsibly but many end up in landfill, and incorrect battery disposal can lead to a risk of fires. The lasting effects that single use vapes are having on the environment needs to be addressed, and I am pleased that we’ve decided to remove them from all stores.”

According to research from the recycling campaign group Material Focus, Approximately five million disposable vapes are discarded in the UK each week, marking a fourfold increase from 2022. This translates to eight vapes being discarded every second, with the lithium content equivalent to the production of 5,000 electric car batteries annually.

Superdrug’s Healthcare Director, Ghada Beal, emphasised the company’s commitment to offering consumers a wide range of alternatives to cigarettes, including smoking cessation products and vaping options. “We need to be responsible about the growing trend in disposable vapes among young people, and the lasting effect on the environment.”

Meanwhile, there are media reports that Ministers are on the verge of prohibiting single-use vapes due to worries about their marketing towards children. This move has garnered support from councils, paediatricians, and environmental advocates, who are advocating for a ban on the sale of disposable e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, Superdrug is now offering what it claims to be the most cost-effective private flu vaccinations available on the UK high street: priced at £8.79 for its 17.2 million Ghada members and £16.99 for non-members.

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