Amid the chaos of the Conservative Party conference in October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak carved out some time to announce new policies that weren’t coming from any deeply ideological angle and could even be contentious with the more libertarian wing of his party.
New measures to eliminate smoking from public life will be given a free vote in the House of Commons. The law will raise the minimum purchasing age year by year until there is technically no-one who can get cigarettes anymore. A similar kind of ban was successfully introduced in New Zealand last year.
This is a welcome solution to a problem that should already have been consigned to history, but as one issue falls another must rise, which is why he also laid out plans for a consultation on whether the sale of vapes to young people could be restricted. Although only 3% of youths smoke cigarettes, which is still much too high, shocking data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 6.7% of women aged 16-24 vape daily, tripling from last year. In the same age range, 3.6% of men also do so daily, with 8.7% of men and 12.2% of women vaping occasionally.
“Although only 3% of youths smoke cigarettes, which is still much too high, shocking data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 6.7% of women aged 16-24 vape daily, tripling from last year.”
Sunak: “Our ambitious plans will reverse the worrying rise in youth vaping while protecting our children from the dangerous long-term effects of smoking as quickly as possible.”
Solutions could involve replacing the inviting colours and flavours with something more clinical, to be used only by those trying to quit tobacco. The vape industry was meant to destroy the tobacco one, but now it just seems like it is going to replace it.
To combat this, more research and public initiatives must be done to make people more aware of how harmful these vapes are to our health and to the environment, which is why the LGA wishes for disposable vapes to be outright banned.
Because of their pernicious nature, swiftness of action will be required to cut down on vapes, lest they become too popular too fast, setting back another generation to be mired in the endless fog of needless addiction.