Scottish Government to consult over potential ban on single-use vapes

The consultation on single-use vapes is due to open next year (John Stilwell/PA)
The consultation on single-use vapes is due to open next year (John Stilwell/PA) The consultation on single-use vapes is due to open next year (John Stilwell/PA)

A Scottish Government consultation on single-use vapes could lead to the devices being banned, Humza Yousaf has said.

Outlining his first Programme for Government on Tuesday, the First Minister announced plans to take action, citing high numbers of young people who use the cheap and often flavoured tobacco substitutes.

Research from Zero Waste Scotland estimates that 26 million disposable vapes are thrown away in Scotland each year, 10% of which are littered and more than half disposed of incorrectly.

The consultation is due to come next year.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf made the announcement as he laid out his Programme for Government (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking after the announcement, the First Minister said: “Disposable vapes are a threat to both public health and the environment.

“We know that the bright colours and sweet flavours catch the eye of children and young people in particular.

“The World Health Organisation has said there is evidence to suggest that young people who have never smoked but use e-cigarettes, double their chance of starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes in later life.

“Last year, we consulted on restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products.

“Any action we seek to take will build on the regulations already in place to restrict the marketing, promotion and sale of vaping products to under-18s and the findings will be used to inform the refreshed tobacco action plan.

“On the environment, the evidence is undeniable – from litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which demand action.

“We will be working constructively with retailers and other stakeholders to come up with solutions. While we will be asking for views on a ban, we are also keen to explore other interventions that could have a more immediate impact.

“Of course, this is not just an issue for Scotland – these problems are being experienced all over the UK and we will soon be holding discussions on potential solutions.”

Ahead of the consultation, circular economy minister Lorna Slater and public health minister Maree Todd have been asked to mee with colleagues from across the UK to discuss a policy response.

However, the change could put the Scottish Government and Westminster Government on another collision course, with a ban requiring an exemption to the Internal Market Act.

A similar exemption was required for the banning of most single-use plastic items, while the two Governments engaged in a constitutional battle over an exemption for the deposit return scheme, which ended up being scrapped.