Disposable e-cigarettes flavored with sweets and fruits could be banned as part of plans to end Britain’s childhood epidemic.
The move could target nicotine-filled devices such as Elf Bars – very popular among teens.
Reportedly, Neil O’Brien, the Public Health Secretary, will start asking for evidence to justify a crackdown on such e-cigarettes in the next few days.
It comes after Settlement Minister Michael Gove pledged to ban nitrous oxide as part of the government’s plans to tackle antisocial behaviour.
He confirmed earlier this week that “crack hippie” would become illegal, citing its impact on local areas and littering.
Report claimed (file photo)
Experts worry that child-friendly flavors and bright colors make the products more attractive to children
Neil O’Brien (pictured), Public Health Secretary will start asking for evidence in the next few days before restricting people under 18 on how to access nicotine vapor
The popular vape flavors that appeal to children are similar to those found on candy shelves.
Strawberry ice cream, cotton candy and cherry cola are some of the Elf Bar flavors currently available.
Other brands also produce flavors such as cherry berry, vanilla custard, and raspberry slushie.
However, health directors still endorse the use of vapes to help adult smokers quit cigarette smoking.
But concerns are growing about how fruit-flavored e-cigarettes may target children.
Marketing of the devices has been linked to alcoholic beverages sold in bright neon colors that are extremely sweet or fruit-flavored.
After the next revision, the flavors may be removed from the shelves, The sun It has been reported.
The government will examine the “appearance and characteristics” of vaping products currently on sale, including examination of marketing and branding, as well as available flavors and item colors.
Some brands may also feature cartoon characters as part of their tactics to attract customers.
The review will also examine how products are advertised through social media, amid concerns that highly addictive products are being deliberately targeted at young people.
In a speech early next month, Mr. O’Brien will address the government’s concerns about e-cigarettes and launch an advisory asking experts how best to protect children from highly addictive nicotine.
It will also include a formal response to the independent review by Dr Javed Khan OBE which looked at the Government’s target to make England and Wales smoke-free by 2030.
The report, released in March last year, looked at arguments for banning smoking for those under 25.
Dr. Khan also suggested that individual cigarettes should come with warnings against smoking and should be printed in less attractive colours, rather than white, such as green or brown.
Government statistics show 8.6 per cent of people aged 11 to 18 in England use e-cigarettes regularly or occasionally, up from 4 per cent in 2021 and 4.8 per cent in 2020.
The figures also show that use of disposable vaping products has ‘increased dramatically’, with 52.8 percent of young people using them in 2022, compared to 7.8 percent in 2021 and 5.3 percent in 2020.
Girls seem to be leading the trend, as vape among them has doubled in the past three years, while among boys it has been holding steady for five years.
The rate rises sharply among older pupils. Among 15-year-olds, one in five girls and one in seven boys vape, compared to one in 100 boys and girls at age 11.
About three-quarters of current vapers are also regular or occasional smokers. Only three percent have never smoked.
Friends (45 percent), newsagents (41 percent) and relatives (35 percent) are the most likely sources of e-cigarettes for students.
The data, published earlier this month, showed devices installed in schools to detect if children use e-cigarettes up to 22 times a day.
Vaping has exploded in Britain over the past few years, with every high street in the country now having a dedicated vaping shop with e-cigarettes also sold for £5 in almost all newsagents.
NHS Digital, which questioned nearly 10,000 students aged 11-15 about their smoking, drug and drinking habits in the past year, found that nine per cent vaped – the highest rate recorded since the survey began in 2014.
One in 10 secondary school pupils is now a vape user, despite uncertainty surrounding their long-term impact on health.
Mr Hassett stressed his concern about children’s complete lack of awareness of the contents of e-cigarettes, with many eager for the next “fix”, begging teachers to let them vape at school.
However, unlike tobacco, the devices need not be hidden away behind shutters, although some contain as much nicotine as 50 cigarettes.
Although it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, their use among children has been increasing for years.
Vapes are devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapor rather than smoke, which does not burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide.
Health officials believe e-cigarettes could play a key role in weaning the 5 million remaining smokers in Britain off tobacco and getting them to quit the deadly habit.
But despite health chiefs insisting it’s safer than smoking, it’s not without risk.
E-cigarettes still contain harmful toxins, according to a study by researchers at the Medical University of Silesia in Poland.
Their long-term impact on health remains a mystery, with some doctors fearing a wave of lung diseases and even cancer in the coming decades.
Experts are also concerned that the high nicotine content may increase blood pressure and cause other heart problems.
Reports of a crackdown by the government come as some parts of the vaping industry call for greater action against those selling the devices to children.
Just this week, vaping manufacturers demanded a £10,000 fine for any retailer caught selling e-cigarettes to children.
Although it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to people under 18, the UK Electronic Cigarette Industry Association (UKVIA) says “unscrupulous retailers” continue to flout the rules.
It called for “immediate” personal fines for the directors and owners of offending retailers, calling for the fine to be raised to four times the current limit of £2,500.
John Dunn, Director General of UKVIA, said: “No more joint detour, it’s time to hit offenders where the pain is greatest – right in the pocket”.
The body, which represents brands such as Juul and Geek Bar, has also called for mandatory registration of all vape retailers and regular purchase testing to see if they check ages under 18, in a bid to better monitor the issue.
In theory, this would make retailers subject to stringent qualifications to join the mandatory fee-paying registration scheme and have to implement educational programs to sell e-cigarettes.
If not followed, this would give Trade Standards the ability to deregister repeat offenders, eliminating their ability to sell vaping products.
It also comes a month after England’s chief medical officer, Sir Chris Whitty, called for a massive crackdown on companies that are getting children addicted to e-cigarettes with “appalling” marketing tactics.
This year, Waitrose became the first major supermarket to stop selling disposable e-cigarettes due to concerns about children using them, along with environmental concerns.
And earlier this month, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda removed at least some Elf vape bars from sale after a Mail investigation found some of the products contained illegal levels of nicotine.
All you need to know about electronic cigarettes
How much nicotine is in an electronic cigarette?
There are many different brands of e-cigarettes that contain different levels of nicotine.
The legal amount of nicotine in an e-liquid capacity in the UK is 20mg/ml between 600 and 800 puffs.
The Elf Bar 600, one of the most popular e-cigarettes in Britain, is advertised as coming in nicotine strengths of 0mg, 10mg and 20mg.
How many cigarettes are in an electronic cigarette?
Analysts say the Elf Bar 600 contains the equivalent of 48 cigarettes.
It delivers 600 puffs before it’s discarded, which means, in theory, every 12.5 puffs is equivalent to one cigarette.
Experts say that for many e-cigarettes, 100 puffs is equivalent to ten regular cigarettes.
Elf Bars is a brand of e-cigarettes often sold in bright colors and with kid-friendly names and flavors, such as blue lemonade and green bear juice.
Is electronic smoking – vaping – better than cigarettes?
Vaping products are better than cigarettes as users are exposed to fewer toxins and at lower levels, according to the NHS.
The health service adds that vaping — vaping instead of smoking cigarettes — reduces your exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease, and heart and circulatory diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks.
Public Health England, now defunct, published an independent expert review in 2015 concluding that e-cigarettes were 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes.
However, vaping is not without risk, as while levels in tobacco products are much higher, e-cigarettes still contain harmful toxins, according to a study by researchers from the Medical University of Silesia in Poland.
Elf bars can cause sore, swollen and bleeding gums, said Dr. Onkar Mudar, a London dentist who posts videos on TikTok.
He said this is because nicotine dries out your mouth and reduces saliva, which causes irritation from bacteria buildup and food that can’t be washed down.
There were approximately 350 vaping hospital admissions recorded in England in 2022, which are thought to be mainly caused by respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, pneumonia and, in severe cases, respiratory failure.