IBVTA’s Wake Up Call Over Disposables and Teens
Anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health produces an annual report looking at teen use of electronic cigarettes. This year, they discovered the proportion of children aged 11-17 who vape has risen from 4% to 7%. The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) spoke about related matter on BBC Radio Kent’s “The Wake Up Call”.
The BBC reported that complaints to Trading Standards has risen from dozens to over two hundred per month over the last twelve months. Reports are growing that the problem is twofold: illegal vapes and non-specialist shops selling illicit disposables to children. Trading Standards say they are now confiscating thousands of unregulated counterfeit vapes.
The BBC has been told of a rise in complaints to over illicit vapes and shops selling them to children – increasing from dozens each month last year to hundreds per month in 2022, with thousands of these products being seized.
Deborah Arnott from Action on Smoking and Health said: “What’s needed is more enforcement, and that requires the government to put more money into Trading Standards.”
The Department of Health and Social Care says that while electronic cigarettes not risk-free, legal vapes registered with the MHRA are far less harmful than smoked tobacco. It says only ex-smokers should vape and discourages non-smokers and children from using them.
The IBVTA, of which Vapekit is a proud member, is the only trade body dedicated to the UK’s independent vape industry, providing a credible voice for the sector to the media. The IBVTA’s Chairman Marcus Saxton answered questions about illegal products, traders who break the law by selling to under 18s, the damage this does to responsible businesses, and what needs to be done about it.
Marcus said that IBVTA is concerned about what’s happening because it undermines the sterling work carried by companies like Vapekit to help smokers quit. He said that the industry has helped over 3.6million smokers quit since 2008.
“Anything around illegal, non-compliant vapes and/or getting into the hands of youths is something that we take really seriously and support the authorities to stamp down on,” said Mr Saxton.
“The UK has been very pro-vaping because it’s seen the role that vaping can play in helping so many smokers switch. The regulations are in play for a specific reason…it’s about 2ml in a device and 20mg/ml. So, anything that seeks to entice people with something that’s larger or contains greater nicotine is just totally flouting this regulation – and certainly undermines the great work that’s gone on by the vast majority.
“[This] is about consumers themselves. We have over 150 shops across the country, and I can assure you that the number of consumers who come in of adult age and ask for these illegal vapes is just incredible. And when we inform them that these are not regulated and should not be sold on the UK market, a number become educated and walk away with the right product, but there are some still that seek to go and find those larger products with greater nicotine.
Marcus continued that the IBVTA see this as requiring increased funding to Trading Standards so they can address non-compliance, but that the trade body can play a role in educating consumers and retailers who don’t understand the regulations or why they’re in place.