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The Public Consultation: Have Your Say on Vaping

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The public consultation is now open to the public, and it's time to have your say. Let us come together to create a more secure and responsible environment for vaping regulations in the UK. Speak out now and make your opinion count so that all vapers, experienced or beginner, can feel safe to continue exploring their smoking alternatives.


Understanding the Public Consultation

A public consultation involves inviting the public to provide their views and feedback on proposed policies or changes. This particular consultation is centred around vaping, aiming to gather people's opinions on proposed vaping guidelines. Some intentions of this consultation include promoting a smoke-free generation, addressing concerns related to youth vaping, and ensuring adherence to the regulation of tobacco products.

Key issues addressed in the Consultation

The proposed Tobacco and Vapes Bill addresses a range of issues related to vaping. This includes restricting vape flavours, packaging presentation, affordability, whether or not nicotine-free vapes should be exempt from regulation, the halt of disposable vape sales, and point-of-sale displays. The consultation outcome will hopefully impact future policy decisions to create a smoke-free generation as well as tackle youth vaping worries.

Both current smokers and non-smokers alike need to understand these matters; by contributing to this consultation, they can help form opinions that offer assistance for adult smokers wanting to quit while contributing to eliminating our future generations' exposure to addictive substances such as nicotine. Please see below for some of the main topics the consultation covers:

Regulating vape flavours

Organisations such as Cancer Research UK have researched to investigate the appeal and influence that flavours may hold over young people when it comes to vaping. The government is currently examining potential measures which could be taken to ensure proper safety standards for all involved. This includes regulations on vape flavours to prevent any unwanted impacts regarding smoking rates amongst youth populations. Should the laws come into effect, the government's hope behind this is diminishing appeal for children by restricting access to sweet and fruity flavoured e-cigarettes completely. However, we disagree.

A large demographic of adult vapers use fruity e-liquids; therefore, banning these flavour types completely means that many users will be left without their favourite fusions. Eventually, this will steer vapers to go back to traditional smoking, which is even worse than vaping. Furthermore, the rise in youth vaping has been primarily linked to disposable vapes from irresponsible sellers - e-liquids, cartridges, and refillable kits have been around for a while now, so it's safe to assume that flavours are not the issue here.

Making vapes less affordable

Rules proposed by authorities may cause vapes to become less affordable as a way of deterring young people from taking up vaping - this is beneficial as it could discourage youth participation. At the same time, this could mean adults who are trying to quit smoking traditional cigarettes will have difficulty accessing vape products due to their heightened cost. This outcome has the potential for fewer adult smokers to use e-cigarettes and more returning to conventional tobacco use.

Should the proposed regulations include nicotine-free vapes?

The government is looking to gain insight regarding whether or not nicotine-free vaping should also be bound by the proposed regulations since, presently, non-nicotine vapes can be sold without age restriction. Legislation which would restrict selling non-nicotine vapes to those under 18 years old has been put forward as a safeguard against children being exposed too heavily in this realm. However, online retailers like the Electric Tobacconist do not sell any vapes to minors, whether it's a nicotine-free product or not. The reason is children can still get hooked on the action of vaping instead of the substances within it. Hence, we do agree with this proposed legislation.

Restricting the sale of disposable vapes

The potential ban on disposable vapes is a topic that has recently been brought up due to their widespread use by young people and the ensuing environmental implications. A disposable vape is preloaded with e-liquid containing nicotine and flavourings and harbours a pre-charged, integrated battery. About 5 million units are thrown away every week, resulting in more landfill waste and littering - only 17% of these discarded products are properly recycled.

It’s understandable why the UK government wants to introduce this ban; however, single-use vapes are the easiest alternative available. No assembly or maintenance is required; therefore, their simplicity appeals to ex-cigarette smokers the most. It's worth noting that there is already a dense black market for non-regulated disposable vapes, especially in off-licence shops, which is not being efficiently enforced. We believe that banning disposable vapes would only increase this illegal trade, causing further health implications to users. If current laws are being overlooked, how can we trust the government will solve the problem by introducing more bans?

Regulating the presentation of packaging

The government is exploring possible regulations for vape packaging and product presentation to make them less attractive to children. Vivid colours alongside imaginative designs often draw kids into purchasing e-cigarette packages (even more so when candy or gummy flavours become involved). Whilst we agree that cartoon-like imagery and child-like fonts on vaping packaging are not necessary, having brand imagery and logos helps vapers to distinguish between products and makes it more difficult for criminals to replicate simple designs to produce counterfeits (which wouldn't be regulated under law and could contain harmful substances that don't belong in vaping products).

Putting further regulation on point-of-sale displays

To promote a smoke-free generation and limit underage vaping, the government is implementing regulations regarding how retail stores display vaping products. Specifically, these laws will require sellers to keep vapes away from children’s reach or sights as well as any related items that could attract them. Although this is being done with hopes of reducing youth access to e-cigarettes, it has not entirely stopped minors from obtaining them.

How would this affect online vape retailers?

The proposed regulations can potentially shake the foundations of the online vaping industry. Making products less affordable may deter customers from purchasing vaping supplies, therefore affecting overall sales. Furthermore, the ban on disposable vapes could significantly reduce sales as it eliminates an entire sector of vapers. Disposable vapes are incredibly popular due to their convenience and ease of use, and their absence from the market could lead to a substantial drop in revenue for online retailers.

The proposed changes to packaging and presentation would strip away the unique branding and designs that help customers differentiate between products. This could lead to confusion among vapers and decrease their engagement with online vape retailers. Additionally, the proposed ban on all e-liquid flavours apart from tobacco and menthol could lead to an exodus of users switching back to traditional cigarettes. A large demographic of vapers enjoy a variety of flavours, and removing these options could make vaping less appealing, pushing them back to the harmful practice of smoking.

In essence, these regulations could lead to many online vape retailers going bust. The high costs, reduced product range, and stricter regulations may force some businesses to close their doors, leading to job losses and a less competitive market. While the intention to create a safe and smoke-free environment is commendable, it is crucial to consider the potential negative impact these regulations could have on the businesses that make up the vaping industry.

How you can help

We (The Electric Tobacconist), as part of the vaping industry, are actively participating in the consultation to have our say as a business. We want to ensure a safe and sustainable future for vaping as well as eliminate the rise of youth vaping.

However, we also understand that this is not just about us - it's about you, the vapers. We know that many of you have concerns about these proposed restrictions, which could blur the line between traditional tobacco smoking and vaping. We hear you, and we want policymakers to hear you too.

That's why we're inviting all vapers to submit their responses to the consultation - this is your chance to have your say, voice your concerns, and help shape the future of vaping. Whether you're worried about the potential ban on disposable vapes or the proposed regulations on vape flavours, this is your opportunity to make your opinion count.

Remember, your participation in this consultation can help create a more responsible vaping environment for everyone, especially for our youth. Let's join forces and speak up, striving towards an outcome that allows users to enjoy the benefits of vaping without the risks associated with misuse.

Submit your answers to the Consultation!