With the reports in the UK suggesting that disposable vapes are soon to be banned from being purchased and sold, we asked members of the public and someone from the vaping industry their thoughts on them.
Disposable vapes appear to be the new craze, and it has been said that they’re marketed too much towards children, and, as a single-use plastic they are bad for the environment.
Whilst there’s nothing concrete to suggest that they’re set to be banned, the department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has said it is aware of the environmental implications posed by disposable vapes, relating to both single use plastic and lithium ion batteries.
It added that work is underway to consult on secondary regulations under the Climate Change Bill to ban single use plastic vapes.
Despite the calls for a ban across the UK, Alisa Rutter OBE, director of the anti-smoking organisation Fresh has said a ban would be a step too far at this stage.
She said: ‘Disposable vapes are easier to use for older and more vulnerable people and those with mental health conditions as they don’t require refilling and recharging, making them a useful if not potentially life-saving aid to quitting for smokers.’
Giles Day, owner of Offshore Vapes on Duke Street, thinks the disposable vapes should be banned, and his company only sells one kind of the throw-away vapes.
He said: ‘We’ve never been a fan of disposable vapes since they first came out. They’re bad for the environment and bad value for money for the customer.
‘When the tobacco companies were rumoured to have got involved and the products started illegally being marketed to children via TikTok that’s when the problem started really.
‘Quite a lot of accounts have been removed from TikTok now, but that was the platform was being used with 14 to 15 year old influencers promoting their products on there.
‘Once the craze starts the kids don’t want to be the odd one out and they all join in and peer pressure takes over from that and we are where we are.
‘We only sell one brand of disposable vapes and we only do that because it can be fully recycled, we do a loyalty scheme to encourage people to bring them back as we have recycling bins here.
‘We first started in 2016 when throw-away vapes were a subculture and nobody really knew what it was and now it’s super mainstream.
‘I think it’s just replacing cigarettes, and Public Health England say it’s 97% less harmful than smoking tobacco so there’s definitely a lot of health benefits to smokers that want to give up, and it’s the most effective stop smoking scheme to ever come on the market.
‘The ethos of our business was, and still is, to stop smoking and we don’t encourage people to start vaping who haven’t smoked before.’
When asked who the average customers are at Offshore Vapes, he said: ‘Smoking never discriminated so it’s anyone from some parents bringing their young kids in to help them stop smoking or to help them get off disposable vapes, all the way up to elderly people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.’
Lee Butterworth and Frankie Pitts, both from Douglas, think that there is a problem with disposable vapes.
Mr Pitts said: ‘I just think they’re an addictive thing and if you’re not addicted you don’t need it.
‘I stopped smoking, and I smoked all my life, and used vapes to stop but that was costing me more money so I needed to get off them as well. ‘Eventually I said enough is enough.
‘Some say disposable vapes are the equivalent of 50 cigarettes a day. When I was on them, as opposed to the bigger vapes I was smoking two or almost three of them a day.
‘So that’s like 150 cigarettes a day, and they’re that easy to have when you’re out having a drink and someone offers you one, the next day you’re getting a nicotine craving back.
‘The problem is [with disposable vapes] they’re very tasty and they’ve got a bigger flavour than the bigger vapes, so for a fiver you can get that instant flavour.
Mr Butterworth added: ‘It just takes that edge away from proper fags, I used to smoke for 20 odd years but if you have a fag it tastes disgusting but vaping it’s still the same thing but it doesn’t taste as bad.
‘I’ve still had a few cigarettes this year I won’t lie, but I’ve been mainly off them since February.
‘They also say vaping is bad but I’ve never had such a healthy chest compared to smoking.
‘I do think the disposable vapes are marketed towards younger people, and with kids now a days it’s just the in thing that they’ve got to vape.
‘It’s the convenience of them and is exactly why I’ve just got one without all the coils and stuff with them, I get the easiest one where I won’t have to do much and cost effective as well.’
Nathan Cooil is a volunteer at Crossroads and is from Crosby, and although he doesn’t vape himself he does understand why others do to get away from smoking.
‘I do agree with them because it does stop people smoking tobacco.
‘Children having them is a problem to be honest with you, I use nicotine patches to put in my gum and that’s a lot healthier and doesn’t damage your insides.
‘It’s become more of a fashion thing and I have seen a lot of them around. I just think young people just follow other young people, it’s just like any other trend.’
Naomi Bettridge and Megan Smart don’t vape but think more research needs to be done on them.
Megan, from Peel, said: ‘I don’t think there has been enough research done on them to know the full side effects.
‘We don’t know which is worse yet [between smoking and vaping]. I do think the flavours are targeted towards children. Once people are done as well they just chuck them on the floor.’