In a speech to Holyrood outlining his programme for government, First Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government will consult on banning single-use vapes.
Yousaf told the Scottish Parliament: “I hear too often about how common vaping is among our young people. In the next year, we will take action to reduce vaping – particularly among children.
“I’m pleased to announce that this government will consult on curbing the sale of disposable single-use vapes, including consulting on an outright ban.”
The announcement follows a review from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) on the environmental impact of disposable vapes. The review, published on 30 June, sets out nine policy options for the Scottish government which includes banning the sale of disposable single-use vapes.
This government will consult on curbing the sale of disposable single-use vapes.
The review estimated that 800 to 1000 tonnes of single-use e-cigarette packaging and materials are discarded in Scotland per year.
ZWS’s report estimates, that in the year ending January 2023, 10.8% of the adult population in Scotland use disposable vapes, which is 543,000 people. Of disposable vape users, 9% were under 16 and 14% were under 18.
The report highlights recent vaping data from the University of Glasgow suggests vaping is now more common than smoking cigarettes – 18% of adolescents reported using e-cigarettes at least once.
The Scottish first minister also said the SNP will “continue to promote” the circular economy.
CIWM welcomes the consultation on banning single-use vapes
Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, commented: “With little established recycling routes for single-use vapes, they are ending up being littered or in residual waste. This not only threatens the natural environment, but presents a significant safety risk for waste collection crews, vehicles, and sorting infrastructure.
“There are statistics that show 48% of all waste fires in the UK each year are caused by lithium-ion batteries and a significant proportion of lithium batteries are used in vapes. Despite containing substantial quantities of this critical raw material, the products have typically not been designed for recycling, a major oversight on behalf of the manufacturers.
An outright ban on single-use vapes may well be the right way forward.
“We are aware of the arguments that vapes help established smokers quit cigarettes, however, the resource management aspects of their use cannot be ignored, and something has to change. An outright ban on single-use vapes may well be the right way forward.
“The Policy & Technical team will be working with CIWM members to submit a consultation response which will need to consider the merits of other approaches such as extended producer responsibility.
“In such a scenario, vape manufacturers and distributors would be responsible for funding collection schemes, and modulated fees could be used as a mechanism to promote better design and recyclability. In the meantime, more should be done by manufacturers and retailers to provide recycling collection points as required under the WEEE regulations.”