Superdrug has announced it will stop selling single use vapes, citing concerns around the rapid growth in their use and their environmental impact.
Pointing to data indicating that the number of single use vapes disposed of each week in the UK has risen from 1.3 million to almost five million, the company “has stopped all purchases of single use vapes and aims to have the stock completely cleared by the end of 2023”.
“The rate that consumers are using single-use vapes and discarding them is worrying and alarming for the environment,” said Superdrug head of environmental and social governance, Lucy Morton-Channon. “Many of these single use vapes contain lithium batteries, which should be disposed of responsibly but many end up in landfill.”
“It’s our responsibility at Superdrug to provide the best choice for consumers who want alternatives to cigarettes, whether that’s smoking cessation products or vaping options,” added Superdrug’s healthcare director, Ghada Beal. “We need to be responsible about the growing trend in disposable vapes among young people and the lasting effect on the environment.”
Superdrug’s announcement comes amid reports that the DHSC are reportedly considering a full ban on disposable vapes, supported by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
Although selling vapes and e-cigarettes to children is illegal, the amount of 11-17-year-olds experimenting with vaping has risen by 4.1 per cent in the past year, according to a YouGov survey for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). “Youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic among children, and I fear that if action is not taken, we will find ourselves sleepwalking into a crisis,” said Dr Mike McKean, paediatric respiratory consultant and RCPCH vice president.
But some organisations disagree, arguing that vapes are still a useful tool for adult smokers to quit tobacco. “We need to be really careful about banning vapes and e-cigarettes as they have been invaluable in stopping people smoking,” said professor Ruth Sharrock, respiratory consultant in Gateshead. The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) agrees a ban is not the answer but suggests:
- Instant fines of over £10,000 for any shop caught selling vapes to children
- A registration scheme that forces shops to meet strict standards before they are allowed to stock vapes.