Minister confirms Wales supports a disposable vapes ban and raising the smoking age

29 January 2024

The Welsh Government will press ahead with plans to ban disposable vapes and support UK Government legislation to increase the smoking age and restrict sales of vapes, Lynne Neagle, deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing, has confirmed.

It follows the publication of the outcome of the four nations consultation ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’.

The consultation closed on December 6, 2023, and 27,921 responses were received (1,018 from Wales).

The UK Government will now bring forward a Tobacco and Vapes Bill at the earliest opportunity that will take measures to:

  • Change the age of sale for all tobacco products, cigarette papers and herbal smoking products. Anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, will never legally be sold (and also in Scotland never legally purchase) tobacco products alongside prohibiting proxy sales, and changing warning notices.
  • Introduce regulation making powers to restrict flavours, point of sale and packaging for vaping products (and other consumer nicotine products).
  • Introduce new enforcement powers for England and Wales for breaches of age-of-sale legislation for tobacco and vapes (nicotine and non-nicotine) and other consumer nicotine products.

The Welsh Government, along with the UK and Scottish governments, intend to introduce legislation to implement a ban on disposable vapes, including both nicotine and non-nicotine-containing products, due to their significant environmental impacts.

Lynne Neagle said, “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in Wales. It causes a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK and is responsible for 80,000 preventable deaths in the UK, of which around 5,600 are in Wales each year.

“Whilst vapes can be useful to some smokers in supporting smoking cessation, data shows the number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years. Due to their nicotine content and the unknown long-term harms, vaping carries a risk of harm and addiction for children.

“The use of single-use vapes has also grown in recent years to the point that almost five million are either littered or thrown away each week. Not only is this extremely wasteful because of their hard to recycle components, but disposable vapes are known to be used by children and when littered they can release toxic chemicals into the environment.

“We want to take all actions possible to stop young people from starting smoking in the first place, to prevent youth vaping and to tackle the effects single-use vapes are having on our environment.

“I am grateful to all those from Wales who contributed to this consultation. We will now work jointly with the other nations and take collective action to tackle the harms caused by smoking and youth vaping across the UK.”