Addictive fruit-flavoured vapes could be banned

The government is still keen to get adults to switch from smoking to vaping. Credit: PA

Fruit-flavoured vapes could be banned in the UK as the government looks to tackle the rise in young people using the products, ITV News understands.

Public Health Minister Neil O'Brien is expected to make a speech next month calling for an investigation into the issue, with the possibility of banning the addictive fruity flavours that have exploded in popularity in recent years.

In the UK it is illegal to sell vapes to under 18s, there are also strict limits on nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, as well as restrictions on advertising and labelling. On Thursday, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the Department of Health and Social Care is exploring ways to tackle youth vaping in response to a question in the Commons.

The government is still keen to promote vaping among adults as an alternative to smoking.

Vapes often come with colourful advertising. Credit: PA

Research published last July found the proportion of children vaping is on the rise, with many being influenced by social media sites including TikTok.

Newer, disposable e-cigarettes are increasing in popularity, in part because they cost around £5 each and come in a wide range of colours and fruity flavours.

Despite it being illegal to sell to young people, social media carries posts from teenagers showing vapes and discussing flavours such as pink lemonade, strawberry banana and mango.

A recent study suggested forcing vape producers to put their products would reduce appeal to children.

The findings were in contrast to the adult group, whose interest in using vapes was not reduced by the plain packaging.

Researchers have suggested putting vapes in bland packaging to reduce appeal to children. Credit: PA

Last month, England’s chief medical officer attacked the “appalling” marketing of vapes to children – saying it was clear some products are intended to appeal to under-age people.

Professor Sir Chris Whitty told MPs: "I think everyone agrees that marketing vaping, an addictive product, with, as you imply, unknown consequences for developing minds, to children is utterly unacceptable."

An Ash report last year found the proportion of children aged 11 to 17 currently vaping jumped from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022.

In 2013, just 3% of children aged 11 to 15 had ever vaped, but this rose to 8% in 2020 and 10% in 2022.

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