UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to strictly regulate all vapes, with a particular focus on the more dangerous disposable vapes that are often preferred by children.

Research conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found that the number of 11-to-17 year olds using vapes has tripled in the last three years, also showing that the type of device this age group most often used were disposable vapes.

ASH’s data further showed that 69% of respondents in this age group said that they used disposables most frequently, up from 52% in 2022 and significantly up from 7.7% in 2021. Almost half (48%) purchased them from shops. In the UK, the legal age limit to buy a vape is 18 years.

The government will further implement a series of measures to regulate the packaging and retail of reusable vapes. New legal restrictions will restrict flavours and mandate plain packaging in measures intended to limit reusable vapes from becoming appealing to children. Shops in England and Wales will also be required to physically place vape products away from other items, such as confectionary, that may be marketed to children.

To target under-age sales, the government will bring in an additional £100 fine for shops in England and in Wales found to illegally sell vapes to children. This is addition to the £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.

The ban on disposable vapes is expected to be enforced in England, Wales and Scotland from 2025.

These restrictions form part of the government’s plan to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on, or after, 1 January 2009 as part of its moves to create a ‘smokefree’ generation by 2030, defined by adult smoking rates of 5% or less.


Further reading:

Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping consultation: government response:

Disposable vapes: FDA cracks down on illegal sales: