The Rt. Hon Steve Barclay M.P
Secretary of State for
Health & Social Care
St Margaret’s Street
OUR REF: RES 1 HEAD OFFICE
Date as Postmark
THIS ASSOCIATION IN CONFERENCE ASSEMBLED URGES HIS MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT TO IMPOSE STERNER FINES ON ANYONE SELLING E-CIGARETTES, KNOWN AS VAPES, TO A MINOR PLUS, TO INTRODUCE THAT ANY OUTLET SELLING VAPES REQUIRES A LICENCE
As far as our research shows originally vapes came on to the market to help cigarette smokers make the transition to stop, but along the way they have become a fascination for children, who, instead of starting to smoke cigarettes are turning to e-cigarettes as it looks ‘cool’ to be seen with one.
Even though it is less damaging for anyone to use an e-cigarette than to smoke actual cigarettes it is still not good, and possibly many minors are using a Vape as it looks good and they think it’s safer than starting smoking so this resolution is for the Government to impose sterner fines on anyone selling a Vape to a minor.
It is documented that the liquid contains nicotine with a strength ranging from 3 mg that is recommended for a person who previously smoked 2 to 3 cigarettes per day, right up to 18 mg for a heavy smoker. The liquid is sold separately with many flavours being available and investigations have found that these are being aimed directly at the younger generation by having flavours that will attract them.
There are three ingredients in the liquids – vegetable glycerine; propylene glycol and flavourings which can all lead to inflammation of the lungs over a period of time as we know smoking a cigarette can. Whereas a cigarette smoker would smoke a cigarette, then not have another one for a length of time, anyone using a Vape can, and does, use it continuously. The liquid in the vape doesn’t contain tobacco but does contain nicotine, and as nicotine comes from tobacco, the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as “tobacco products.” E-cigarettes are a relatively new product and their long term effects are still unknown, this needs to be considered.
This all sounds alarming, and for a young person it is, but these Vapes are being bought in abundance by youngsters as young as 10. School children are blatantly buying and vaping with great ease. Our research shows school toilets are a cloud of smoke even though vaping should not be done indoors or underage and it seems as though teachers are fighting a losing battle. The ruling is that the vape equipment etc., will be taken off the student caught vaping; their parents called to the school then punishment given of what the school feels is appropriate.
Selling nicotine inhaling products, cartridges containing nicotine or e-liquid containing nicotine to persons under the age of 18 is against the law, so there is a penalty of £2,500 for outlets who are found to break these laws and the person found, knowingly to have sold to the under-18, could get a criminal record or a fine of £2,500. As this is a lucrative business only requiring premises the outlay for purchasing the e-cigarettes and accessories and, advisably, insurance, a fine of £2,500 is not a lot to pay if caught selling to a minor and, let’s face it, it’s the ‘done thing’ amongst youngsters to look ‘cool’ inhaling a vape, therefore, we as an Association feel the fine should be far more, with the hope that an increased amount of money to pay out would deter them from selling and check more vigorously the age of the person purchasing the vaping equipment.
There are calls from other sectors to increase the fine for selling vapes to children to £10,000 – as well as calls for a ban on social media advertising of vapes and for plain packaging, similar to the way cigarettes are sold. Our Resolution we hope will enhance other requests for the Vaping industry to be more strictly regulated in fines.
This is now a globally recognised industry which is growing in popularity and the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2020 there were about 3 million vapers in Great Britain, then, according to vaping data between 2014 and 2022, retail sales went up by 9.4 million units during a four week period alone.
Maybe e-cigarettes and their lovely smelling liquids together making a Vape, are good for a previous cigarette smoker to help them stop smoking, but, as we know, usually something bad comes out of something good and it has in this case. Instead of starting to smoke cigarettes behind the bike shed the youngsters are turning to Vapes because they are deemed not real smoking and they can ‘have a go’ as well as look ‘cool’ but they are still harmful.
We await your response with interest, on this important issue.