The Scottish Government has announced plans for an urgent review into the environmental impact of disposable vapes – which could result in an outright ban.
Zero Waste Scotland will undertake the review into the smoking alternatives, considering international responses.
The move could eventually lead to an outright ban on the disposable products.
Circular economy minister Lorna Slater said: “Not only are single-use vapes bad for public health, they are also bad for the environment.
“From litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which need to be addressed urgently.
“We will consider the evidence and expert advice and come forward with policy options, which could include a potential ban on single-use vapes.
“In the meantime, we would urge everyone who uses these products to make sure they are disposed of properly.”
Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland said: “Single-use items, like disposable vapes, are becoming an all-too-common eyesore in areas where we live, work, and socialise, and can last in our environment for years and years.
“Tackling our throwaway culture is a priority here at Zero Waste Scotland and we are happy to lead on this important review.”
The move comes after Health Secretary Humza Yousaf was challenged by Green MSP Gillian Mackay over the products in Holyrood this week.
In the exchange, Mr Yousaf said he would speak to “stakeholders” on the issue, adding that ministers would consider a “potential ban”.
But the vaping industry hit out at the plans, with Neil McLaren, the co-CEO of
, saying: “This virtue signalling move from Holyrood reeks of hypocrisy since they’re happy to keep cigarettes on the market.
“Those additional tax revenues must be important.”
Tobacco Duty is not set or paid by the Scottish Government, as a reserved tax it is handled by the UK Government.
“Yousaf should work on reducing the smoking rate in Scotland – which has the highest smoking rates in Britain – instead of carping on about vapes,” he added.
“If they encourage smokers to switch instead of banning vapes, they can make a real difference to public health and the planet.”
But Laura Young, a campaigner dubbed the “Vape Crusader” by the Health Secretary in Holyrood, and who has spent months picking up disposable vapes, said: “This review, and consideration of a ban cannot come quickly enough as we look to remove these harmful devices from our market.
“These have no place in a country moving towards net zero and a circular economy.
“Months of litter picking from streets, parks, and beaches, alongside campaigning efforts speaking to a variety of public health and environmental organisations has pushed this into the focus of the Scottish Government where we hope to see swift action to address the unintended consequences from these products.”
Sheila Duffy, the chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government taking rapid action to explore and address the environmental harms of single-use vaping products.
“The easy availability of disposable e-cigarettes, which are being marketed with bright colours and sweet flavours, is driving a huge rise in children experimenting.”
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