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Action to tackle environmental impact of single-use vapes

Following the news of the Scottish Government’s planned review into single-use disposable e-cigarettes and their impact on the environment, we, alongside our partners ASH Scotland, Marine Conservation Society and Laura Young, fully support this announcement and reiterate our call for action, up to and including a ban on single-use vapes.

Barry Fisher, our CEO, said: “We are currently experiencing a litter emergency that is impacting communities across Scotland.

“Cigarette litter in general makes up the biggest chunk of litter we record across Scotland, and we know that single-use vapes are increasing as a new, unnecessary litter type. 

“We are thrilled to hear that Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, has announced a review into their environmental impact.

“We will continue to urge the UK and Scottish Governments to work together to ensure action is taken, up to and including a ban on single use vapes to stop this new litter type at source.”

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity 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.

“Nicotine is highly addictive and many disposable vapes include toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhalation and could seriously damage health over time – this is especially worrying for children and young people as their lungs are still growing.”

Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer for the Marine Conservation Society, added: “We’re delighted to hear that the Scottish Government is planning a review into a potential ban on disposable vapes after the matter was raised by Gillian Mackay MSP in Holyrood yesterday. Thanks to the brilliant work of our Youth Ocean Network member Laura Young, known as Less Waste Laura or the ‘Vape Crusader’, our concerns of the impact of disposable vapes on our ocean are being heard.

“To stop single-use items polluting Scotland's seas we need to move towards a circular economy where products are repaired, refilled, recharged and reused. We support the call for a ban on disposable vapes, as well as clearer labelling on packaging for how to recycle reusable vapes with a free and easy take back scheme available in every outlet that sells them.”

Laura Young, who recently wrote a guest blog for us on the impact of disposable vapes, added: “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.”

If you want to take action on litter, including single-use vapes, why not take organise a Spring Clean or get involved with our Citizen Science programme to help us record data litter.

20 January 2023

We support the