London, May 30 (IANS) The British government will launch a crackdown on vape marketing targeting children and teenagers, according to media reports.
Announcing the new set of measures aimed at limiting underage vaping, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “deeply concerned” about an increase in children vaping and was “shocked by reports of illicit vapes containing lead getting into the hands of schoolchildren”, the BBC reported.
“The marketing and the illegal sales of vapes to children is completely unacceptable and I will do everything in my power to end this practice for good,” he said.
A recent BBC probe found that illegal vapes confiscated from school pupils contained far higher levels of lead, nickel and chromium than deemed safe.
Under the new measures, there will also be a review into the rules around the sale of “nicotine-free” products to children under 18 years of age.
By tightening the law, the government said it would be easier for local trading standards officials to issue on-the-spot fines and fixed penalty notices to shops who sell vapes to underage people.
While selling vapes to under 18s is illegal, nicotine-free products can be sold.
A YouGov survey in March and April for Action on Smoking and Health revealed an increase in experimental vaping among 11- to 17-year-olds — from 7.7 per cent in 2021 to 11.6 per cent in 2022.
The plans have been welcomed by the UK Vaping Industry Association, which said it had been calling for a clampdown for over a year.
Its director general John Dunne said: “Unless unscrupulous traders know that selling vapes to children is an endeavour which would be financially ruinous to them, then they will continue to do so.”
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