UK Disposable Vape Ban: Draft Regulation Details Published

uk disposable vape ban regulation

The UK government has taken a significant step towards implementing its planned disposable vape ban, releasing draft regulations that provide insights into the timeline, enforcement measures, and potential penalties for non-compliance. The documents, published on March 11, 2024, for England, shed light on the specifics of the forthcoming ban.

Implementation Date and Penalties

According to the draft regulations, the disposable vape ban is set to take effect in April 2025. Retailers found selling disposable vapes after this date could face fixed fines of £200 or be issued compliance/stop notices requiring them to cease sales of the prohibited products.

Failure to adhere to these enforcement notices may result in additional fines and even imprisonment. The regulations also empower enforcement officers to enter premises, photograph evidence, and seize suspected illicit goods.

Defining Disposable Vapes

The draft includes a definition of disposable vapes to clarify which products will be subject to the ban. A disposable vape is described as a vape device that is not designed or intended for reuse, and includes any vape that is:

  • Not refillable
    A single-use vape is a vape which is not designed or intended to be re-used (a “singleuse vape”) and includes any vape which is— (a) not refillable, (b) not rechargeable, or (c) not refillable and not rechargeable.
  • Not rechargeable
    For the purposes of this regulation, a vape is not refillable unless it is designed to include— (a) a single-use container which is separately available and can be replaced, or (b) a container which can be refilled.
  • Both not refillable and not rechargeable
    For the purposes of this regulation, a vape is not rechargeable if it is designed to contain— (a) a battery which cannot be recharged, a coil which is not intended to be replaced by an individual user in the normal course of use, including any coil which is contained in a single-use cartridge or pod which is not separately available and cannot be replaced.

The regulations further specify that a vape is considered refillable only if it is designed to include either a single-use container that is separately available and replaceable, or a container that can be refilled.

Similarly, a vape is deemed not rechargeable if it contains a battery that cannot be recharged or a coil that is not intended for replacement by the user in the normal course of use, including coils contained in single-use cartridges or pods that are not separately available and cannot be replaced.

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Impact Assessment and Industry Critique

An impact report accompanying the draft regulations estimates the potential financial impact of the ban on the retail industry. The report projects a profit loss of £648 million in 2025 and £761 million in 2026 across the entire retail sector.

These figures were calculated by multiplying the average price of a disposable vape by the projected sales for each year, and then applying a 24% profit margin based on data from the Annual Business Survey.

However, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) criticized the draft regulations and impact assessment. ACS chief executive James Lowman argued that the government is underestimating the financial impact on retailers and failing to account for the likely rise in illicit trade following the ban.

Lowman also pointed out inaccuracies in the impact assessment, such as references to outdated WEEE regulations and vape recycling thresholds that were updated in January 2023. He expressed concern that the regulations do little to deter criminals and rogue traders who may continue to sell disposable vapes illegally.

Ongoing Consultation

It is important to note that the regulations are still in draft form and subject to change. The government is accepting comments and feedback on the draft until March 25, 2023, allowing stakeholders to provide input before the regulations are finalized.

As an experienced journalist covering the vaping industry, I strive to provide balanced and accurate reporting on regulatory developments. While the draft regulations offer clarity on the government’s intentions, the concerns raised by industry representatives like the ACS highlight the ongoing debate surrounding the disposable vape ban’s effectiveness and unintended consequences.

As the consultation period progresses and the regulations are finalized, it will be crucial to monitor their impact on public health, the retail sector, and the broader vaping landscape in the UK. Policymakers must carefully consider the potential for unintended consequences, such as a rise in illicit trade, while working to strike a balance between protecting public health and supporting responsible businesses.

Matthew Ma