Scottish Government will consider a ban on disposable vapes

Officials have raised concerns about the environmental and health risks

The Scottish government has announced it is considering a ban on all disposable vapes due to their negative impact on both public health and the environment.

Health minister Humza Yousaf told Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) that the government will “ask stakeholders with the relevant expertise to examine the evidence and assess what action the Scottish Government and other partners should take”, including a potential ban.

The environmental group Zero Waste Scotland will conduct a review of the e-cigarettes, evaluating the devices’ detrimental impact on the environment, including consequences for local wildlife.

Meanwhile, Public Health Scotland will formally examine the health impacts, with a report expected to be published in the autumn.

It is understood the review could also consider increasing the availability of environmentally-friendly vape disposal facilities, and reducing the amount of non-recyclable material in the items.

It comes a month after The Tab revealed the extent of student vape usage across the UK, with approximately one-fifth of Edinburgh’s students addicted to Elf Bars, a brand of vape. While a significant figure, this proportion was one of the lowest compared to other universities across the country.

Dr Lion Shahab, professor of health psychology at University College London and co-director of UCL’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group said the stats were “somewhat concerning” because vapes are intended to be a “harm reduction product” for those already addicted to smoking, rather than a product for non-smokers.

Mr Yousaf, an SNP MSP, applauded PhD student Laura Young from Dundee for her campaigning efforts to ban disposable vapes, which has gained significant public attention.

“She has done an incredible job going around the country picking up these vapes that are undoubtedly causing environmental harm”, the minister said.

Young highlights that even though many disposable vapes are technically recyclable, they often must be taken to specialist recycling units to which not everyone has easy access.

She uses her Twitter account to chart how many disposable vapes she finds littered on her daily walks, using the hashtag #BanDisposableVapes to encourage Scotland’s MSPs to take action to avoid the continued degradation of local environments.

Iain Gulland, the Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland said: “Any form of littering is an unacceptable, anti-social behaviour that is damaging to the environment and the economy.

“Single-use items, like disposable vapes, are becoming an all-too-common eyesore in areas where we live, work, and socialise, and can last in our environment for years and years.

“Tackling our throwaway culture is a priority here at Zero Waste Scotland and we are happy to lead on this important review”.

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