Scotland May Ban Disposable Vapes By April 2025

A current consultation in Scotland will likely result in a ban on disposable vapes, and Wales is set to follow suit.

Last October, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care launched a consultation related to smoking and vaping-related concerns, in a collaborative process will involve the administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This included concerns about the widespread use of disposable vapes, which resulted in a proposal for a UK-wide ban on the products.
Meanwhile, UK Member of Parliament Andrew Lewer recently revealed that approximately 75,000 people die from smoking-related diseases annually in the UK, a notable decrease from half a century ago. The decline in smoking is attributed to successful public health campaigns, regulations, and most of all the promotion of safer alternatives such as vapes, heat-not-burn, and nicotine pouches.

Disposables may have played a major role in reducing the UK’s smoking rates
Infact, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) data have shown that many individuals turn to vaping as a means to quit smoking, contributing to a reduction in the local smoking rate from 21% in 2013 to under 13% today. In fact research from UCL and King’s College London has suggested that a ban on disposables could impact approximately 2.6 million people, hindering the decline in smoking prevalence and disproportionately affecting disadvantaged groups.

MP Lewer highlighted the success of harm reduction strategies, citing examples like New Zealand’s 33% reduction in adult smoking after legalizing vaping and Australia’s 4.5% increase in smoking following a ban on recreational vaping. While the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has warned that banning disposables will fuel the black market, facilitating minors’ access to illicit vapes, a pattern consistently observed in places with bans in place.

The burdensome aspect of single-use vapes
Meanwhile, as part of the UK, the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland may be banned by April 1st next year, according to draft legislation open for consultation until March 8th. Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater highlighted the threat of single-use vapes to both public health and the environment, noting that more than 26 million disposable vapes were consumed and discarded in Scotland in the past year. Improper disposal of vapes can lead to battery-related fires in waste facilities and collection vehicles.

In addition to the disposables’ ban, the Scottish government will support UK-wide plans to set an generational tobacco ban, making it illegal for anyone born after January 1, 2009, to buy the products. Smoking-related deaths in Scotland exceed 8,000 annually, and vapes are considered a valuable tool for adult smoking cessation, hence reusable vapes will continue to be available alongside other smoking cessation tools.

A consistent regulatory approach across the UK
In conjunction with the UK and Scottish governments, the Welsh Government is also set  to enforce a ban on disposable vapes, both on nicotine and non-nicotine-containing products. Effectively, efforts will be made to ensure consistency in actions taken across the UK to maintain regulatory alignment. In fact Northern Ireland is believed to be considering similar measures.

The Welsh Government supports the UK’s government’s work on a Tobacco and Vapes Bill. This comprehensive bill would adopt a collaborative approach at the UK level, hence establishing set principles for market access, incorporating mutual recognition to facilitate the unhindered movement of goods and services within the UK. By adopting a unified stance across the UK, particularly related to ban on disposables, the risk of conflicting measures is minimized, ensuring the efficacy of the proposed policies and avoiding complications arising from market access matters.