UK Supermarket Chain Waitrose Stops Selling Disposable Vapes

Waitrose has stopped selling single-use vaping products due to their negative impact on the environment and the health of young users.

Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that UK smoking rates reached record lows in 2021, partly because of the increase in vaping, with the ONS underlining that vapes had played a major role in reducing the prevalence of tobacco smoking across the UK.

Citing these figures, Waitrose said that it could no longer justify selling single-use products and has hence removed them from its shelves. “Our move comes as reports suggest that the market growth is being fuelled by the popularity among those who haven’t previously smoked,” it said. This statement was released despite a recent ONS report saying that in fact only 1.5% of people who have never smoked said they vaped.

Waitrose added that it has de-listed vaping products containing lithium, which it had previously sold under the Ten Motives label. “We are a retailer driven by doing the right thing, so selling single-use vapes is not something we could justify given the impact on both the environment and the health of young people,” said the firm’s commercial director, Charlotte Di Cello.

“We had already decided it wasn’t right to stock the fashionable bright-coloured devices which are seeing rapid growth, so this decision is the final jigsaw piece in our clear decision not to be part of the single-use vaping market.”

Netherlands’ supermarket ban
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands a ban on the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products in supermarkets, will go into effect in 2024. This measure is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at reducing local smoking rates. Last month a plain packaging regulation went into effect, forcing all cigarette manufacturers to sell cigarettes in identical brown packaging. Moreover, tobacco prices have been hiked by almost 20% this year, with the final aim being the price of €10 per packet of cigarettes.

Supermarkets are believed to contribute to 55% of all tobacco sales in the Netherlands, and the supermarket ban is expected to remove about 11,000 of the current 16,000 tobacco vending points in the country, said the government. Before that, a ban on cigarette vending machines is expected to go into effect in 2022. “This will prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths and medical suffering,” said deputy health minister Paul Blokhuis in a statement.