The U.K. government will unveil plans for combating the illegal sale of vapes to children.
In a speech to be delivered at the Policy Exchange think-tank on Tuesday, health minister Neil O’Brien will announce a new “illicit vapes enforcement squad” backed by £3 million ($3.7 million) of government funding. He’ll also call for evidence to identify ways of reducing the number of under-18s accessing and using vapes.
“While vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults, we are concerned about the rise in youth vaping, particularly the increasing use of disposable vaping products,” O’Brien said in a statement on Sunday.
Led by Trading Standards, a government service focused on upholding consumer protections, the enforcement squad will be able to conduct test purchasing in convenience stores and vape shops, and be granted powers to remove illegal products from shelves and at borders. It will also produce guidance to help build regulatory compliance.
Vaping among the youth has been a talking point for the last few years, particularly with the introduction of several brands, including Elf Bar. In February, Politico reported that the UK government was considering a new tax on vaping.
Figures from NHS Digital published last year showed that 9% of 11 to 15 year olds used e-cigarettes in 2021, a rise from 6% in 2018.
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