select search filters
roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

expert comments on whether disposable vapes should be banned

There have been reports this morning that Dr Mike McKean, vice-president of policy at the RCPCH, has said: “Without a doubt, disposable e-cigarettes should be banned”. Here are some further comments on banning disposable vapes in case useful.


Prof Jamie Brown, Director of University College London’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said:

“Addressing the availability of cheap and illicit disposable vapes is a vital first step, but this must be backed up by a comprehensive regulatory approach which reduces not just affordability but also access, appeal and advertising of vapes to children.  This approach should be balanced by also promoting vaping to adults as the most effective quitting aid available in the UK.

“Our surveys find that large numbers of adult smokers believe, wrongly, that vaping is just as bad if not worse than smoking. Well funded anti-smoking campaigns are needed to address these misconceptions if the government is to maximise the impact of its ‘Swap to Stop’ offer on population smoking rates.”


Dr Sharon Cox, Principal Research Fellow in Behavioural Science, Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, University College London, said:

“Nobody is disputing that curbing youth use of disposable vaping products is a good thing, but we need to keep any action in perspective. E-cigarettes are a broad range of products and many help adults to quit smoking and stay quit. Any action on youth vaping needs to be targeted so that we do not take e-cigarettes away from those benefitting from their use. Age of sale checks, proper enforcement on illicit vapes and restrictions on marketing can all help with this. Single use vapes need to be tackled as a separate issue to reusable vapes that adults are mostly using to help them quit.”


Prof Nicholas Hopkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Hon Consultant Physician, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, said:

“We need to take steps to deal with youth vaping while making sure that e-cigarettes are still available as an effective option to help smokers to quit. There are still more than 6 million smokers in the UK and 2 out 3 people who continue to smoke will die form a smoking-related disease.

“A better approach, and one which government could implement almost immediately (we called for it to be a measure in the March budget), would be to introduce a £5 excise tax on disposable vapes. This would mean that disposable vapes weren’t available at pocket money prices and would also give HMRC powers to deal with illegal imports. We saw very clearly how reducing affordability of cigarettes was a key step in getting youth smoking down, so we can be confident that it will work for vaping too.

“As well as this, Government should invest heavily in anti-smoking campaigns, framing vaping as a means to quit smoking, rather than as a recreational activity.

“They should also prohibit branding that appeals to children as well as banning in store promotion of vapes as is the case already for cigarettes.”


Prof Caitlin Notley, Professor of Addiction Sciences, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, said:

“The Addiction Research Group at the University of East Anglia are currently running a study investigating the usage patterns, practises and appeal of disposable e-cigarettes in young people. This is a qualitative study where we are asking dyads of young people (aged 16-21) to hold semi-structured conversations in order that we may collect naturalistic conversational data from young people themselves. The aim is to better understand young people’s views and experiences of disposable vape use in particular. This study in in its infancy, and so we only have tentative early data to share, but will aim to share more formal findings in the summer of 2023. So far in PPI informant interviews, in terms of appeal, we have heard that young people view disposable vapes as transitionary. Two young people we talked to both talked about not using disposables forever. One young person talked about transitioning to a tank style vape when they are older. In discussion, cost was mentioned as a disincentive to buying disposable vapes – the young people talked about their cost and how these vary, especially in London. These young people had limited disposable incomes, and so were preoccupied with cost being a barrier, and also a reason for using them less and making vapes last. They said that cost would be a reason to give up using altogether.

“Higher pricing of disposables may make them less appealing, but a key unintended consequence could be that this might drive black market sales. Young people frequently bought vape devices online. There were instances described of sharing with friends, as one young person might buy  multiple vapes and sell them on at a price lower than in the shops. One concerning, anecdotal, piece of evidence linked to price is the actions of young people in their attempts to makes disposable vapes last longer. One young person described how the battery on a disposable device would often fail before the e-liquid had run out. This led to him taking devices apart to ‘recharge’ the battery. This tampering could conceivably cause inadvertent inhalation of toxicants that might be created through the tampering process as these devices are not designed to be taken apart or recharged.”



e.g. BBC News



Declared interests

None declared

in this section

filter RoundUps by year

search by tag