The government is set to close a ‘loophole’ that allows shops to give free vape samples to young people, it has announced. It has also launched a review into banning the sale of ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to people under 18.
Selling vapes to under-18s is already illegal. However, the government also intends make it easier for trading standards officers to issue on-the-spot fines to retailers selling the products to children illegally. The risks of vaping will also be included in Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RHSE) lessons, the government said, while OHID is also developing a vaping resource pack for schools.
‘Whilst vaping can be an effective quitting tool for smokers, it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start vaping,’ said chief medical officer Chris Whitty. ‘There has been a particularly worrying rise in the number of children using vapes, with companies clearly marketing these products at children using colours, flavours and cheap disposable options.
‘Closing the loophole that allows companies to give out free samples of vaping products to under 18s is a very welcome step in tackling some of the harms caused by the vaping industry. We should continue to encourage smokers to swap to vaping as the lesser risk, whilst preventing the marketing and sale of vapes to children.’