Prohibition of the sale and supply of single-use vapes Full Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for the proposed prohibition on the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland.


Within Government

78. The Scottish Government Environment and Forestry Directorate has engaged with other relevant teams across the Scottish Government regarding the potential impacts of the policy on:

  • Socio-economic inequality issues such as low income, low wealth, and area deprivation;
  • Island communities;
  • People with protected characteristics; and
  • Businesses, including the retail industry and vape producers.

Public Consultation

79. A four nations public consultation, ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’[126] ran from 12th October to 6th December 2023. This consultation detailed the governments’ policy intent for future direction on both smoking and how to tackle youth vaping.

80. Consultation responses with regards to vapes were strongly supportive of a ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes.[127]

81. As a result of the responses to the consultation, the Scottish Government, alongside the UK Government, Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland Executive, intends to introduce legislation to implement a ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes.

82. In February 2024, the Scottish Government held a two week consultation (23rd February – 3rd March 2024) on the draft ‘Environmental Protection (Single-use Vapes) (Scotland) Regulations 2024’.[128] This consultation also confirmed the proposed coming into force date of the regulations on 1st April 2025.

83. The Regulations have been updated to take account of responses to the consultation on the draft regulations.

84. An interim partial BRIA document was published alongside the Scottish Government consultation paper on the introduction of a ban on single-use vapes. The consultation was launched for 6 weeks between 2nd April 2024 to 14th May 2024.

85. The consultation was accompanied by a full suite of impact assessments including an interim partial BRIA, an interim equalities impact assessment, interim fairer Scotland duty assessment, interim island community impact assessment, interim child rights and welfare assessment and a strategic environmental assessment environmental report.

86. Consultation analysis was based on 45 responses, comprising of 27 individuals and 16 organisations.

87. The (interim) partial BRIA received 28 responses. 10 largely agreed with the ban, 4 somewhat agreed with further comment on enforcement funding, and acknowledged impact on some retailers. 1 of these responses suggested the need for further thought to be given to the illicit market and how and who are accessing it, in particular younger people. This respondee did not agree that Australia is a good example as it is now estimated that 87% of vape users there purchase from the black market.

88. 6 disagreed with the ban, 1 of which voiced the view that the interim partial BRIA did not contain enough detail with no other comment. The remainder highlighted significant data gaps on the illicit vapes market, the expected consumer habit changes and online sale implications and the use of figures in Defra’s initial IA, included in our draft BRIA, which have since been updated. A number of responses focused on enforcement and compliance requirements. 1 of these responses touched on equalities issues but did not acknowledge or comment against the Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA) which covers these issues.

89. 8 final further comments were “no comment” responses or comments with no useful information.

90. More detailed analysis of the public consultation responses revealed the following information.

91. Of those that were not supportive of the ban:

  • 5 respondees noted the potential for an already prevalent illicit market to grow and for current users of single-use vapes to switch to this market upon implementation of the ban.
  • 2 respondees noted a potential reduction in business viability from implementation of the ban. This is described in the form of reduced customer footfall and businesses already operating with tight margins due to the current cost-of-living crisis having to either absorb increased costs or pass them onto consumers.
  • 1 respondee noted potential negative impacts on consumers in the form of price increases. This is linked to the above concern on overall business viability.
  • 1 respondee noted that there has been recent advances in product design with single-use vapes, that may allow for easier disassembly for recycling.
  • 2 respondees noted that there has been a lack of engagement with the sector, primarily producers and retailers of single-use vapes. Authorities should make more effort to engage with producers, store owners, and distributors who openly do not comply.
  • 2 respondees noted concerns with the cost modelling presented in the partial BRIA, which was based off Defra UK-wide modelling. In particular, the projected profit losses for retailers.
  • 1 respondee noted potential equalities impacts not being considered on the elderly, disabled, and other vulnerable users. It should be noted that a full assessment of equalities impacts for the proposed ban on single-use vapes will be analysed in the EQIA.
  • 2 respondees noted concerns over the enforcement of the ban. This included concerns over the ability of Trading Standards Scotland to monitor the growth of an illicit market, as well as local authorities’ ability to undertake enforcement while providing enforcement to other service areas.
  • 1 respondee noted questions over the effectiveness of the ban on youth vaping prevalence, given the current ease at which under 18s can purchase vapes illegally.

92. Of those that were supportive of the ban:

  • 2 respondees noted that the harm associated with single-use vapes justifies the ban.
  • 2 respondees noted that the wider social benefits of the ban (environmental and health) justify the ban.
  • 2 respondees noted that the brightly coloured product design and packaging of single-use vapes, as well as the “fruity flavours” indicate that they are targeted towards children as a demographic. There was a desire to see similar regulations applied to product display of vapes as those on cigarettes; neutral coloured packaging and product design, as well as not being displayed prominently in shops.
  • 1 respondee noted that the analysis contained in the partial BRIA was robust and a thorough assessment of the potential impacts.
  • 1 respondee noted that there is a current lack of compliance on regulations for selling single-use vapes, which a ban would address.


93. All registered vape and tobacco retailers in Scotland have been contacted to notify them of the policy proposal and consultations.

94. Engagement with business took place through the Scottish Firms Impact Test (SFIT), which helped to identify:

  • Industry views on the implementation considerations for a ban on single-use vapes. i.e., what actions may different businesses take in response? Will they switch to reusable vapes, supply secondary equipment such as liquids, or exit the market altogether? Or a mixture of the above?
  • What effect will these actions have on consumer demand and overall material use?
  • The potential for unintended consequences of the ban e.g. what will happen to surplus stock if not sold prior to the ban?

95. To understand the full impacts of the implementation of proposed legislation on small, medium, and large businesses, discussions with an appropriate cross-section of affected business stakeholders took place between March and May 2024 (the results are presented below). It is expected that the following stakeholder groups will be directly affected by the implementation of the proposed legislation.

  • Scottish manufacturers
  • Importers/suppliers
  • Wholesalers
  • Retail and retail representative bodies
  • Recycling and waste management organisations

96. The following stakeholder groups are expected to be indirectly affected by the implementation of proposed legislation:

  • Raw material suppliers
  • Equipment suppliers

97. All engagement adhered to our commitments under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3. This ensures our tobacco control policies are protected from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.


98. The policy options considered in this analysis have been designed in line with the objectives set out above: to eliminate the consumption of single-use vapes and therefore reduce the environmental harm caused. Each option is compared against a common baseline which is the business-as-usual case, however some options are not exclusive.

99. A number of alternative policy options were given consideration but were filtered out when set against a policy success criteria. The full screening process is available in Defra’s IA.[129] The alternative policy options included the following:

  • Implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for single-use vapes
  • Request-only option
  • Take-back scheme
  • Creating recycling infrastructure to deal with single-use vapes
  • Improved product design of single-use vapes for easier recyclability
  • Tax on single-use vapes (per device)
  • Information campaign to increase the number of single-use vapes being recycled (non-regulatory option)
  • Prescribing single-use vapes

100. Implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for single-use vapes. This option would entail deposits being placed on single-use vapes to incentivise people to recycle them. Though this could help with increasing recycling of single-use vapes and thereby reduce negative impacts on the environment, it would also have cost implications for vape producers and enforcement costs for monitoring compliance. This option would be less likely to promote the use of reusable alternatives and would also take several years to implement, when the problem under consideration is growing rapidly. Further, the country currently lacks suitable facilities to recycle these products and so this option is less likely to be feasible.

101. Request-only option. This option would involve single-use vapes being available by request-only in all settings, but not readily on display (i.e. only made available if a consumer specifically asks for one).This would be similar to the current approach with tobacco products whereby retailers make temporary, limited size displays on request when selling a tobacco product to a customer aged 18 or over, though specialist tobacconists are still able to display tobacco in designated tobacco areas (i.e. specialist tobacconists can display and advertise tobacco products inside their shops provided they are not visible from the outside). Unlike tobacco products, there are no measures to regulate the display of vaping products in shops in Scotland. Vaping products are openly and prominently displayed on countertops, at till points and in eye-catching display towers on shop floors.[130] Concern has been expressed about children seeing and easily picking up vapes due to them being displayed within aisles, close to sweets and confectionary products and on accessible shelves.[131] However, the impacts in reducing the usage of single-use vapes under a request-only policy are uncertain. While likely to act as a barrier for children and prevent them from vaping, it would not necessarily influence adult vapers. This may not fully reduce the current environmental impacts and so does not specifically target the policy objectives. This would be more difficult for enforcement bodies to monitor business compliance and would likely have no effect on online consumption, where it is estimated that 30-35% of consumers purchase online.[132]

102. Take-back scheme. This option would build on existing WEEE regulations. This will increase accessible take-back and recycling solutions through the introduction of additional retailer collection points or designated vape bins in more retailers and places like schools/universities and other public spaces. Responses to the DHSC Call for Evidence[133] frequently mentioned that schools should have designated ‘vape bins’ where children could safely dispose of vapes, both to decrease littering and reduce opportunities for children to pick up discarded vapes to use or sell, which is an issue in schools.[134] This option would make responsible disposal easier. However, this option is likely to be very costly to stores and schools and may not result in increased recycling due to lack of recycling infrastructure in the UK. Given the prevalence in use by children (including being sold illegally to those underage), these consumers may not want to return to stores.

103. Creating recycling infrastructure to deal with single-use vapes. A key challenge of dealing with single-use vapes is the lack of a well-established recycling infrastructure in Scotland. Currently, the Environment Agency advises that manual dismantling is the only form of treatment for recycling vapes. To increase capacity for vape recycling greater mechanical recycling would have to be utilised, with potential procedures including using a nitrogen blanketing system to mitigate fire risk or a wet shredding system to suppress fires.[135] This would require significant investment over several years for infrastructure to be built, therefore delaying progress towards the policy objectives. There is uncertainty as to how future treatment options may be developed.

104. Improved product design of single-use vapes for easier recyclability. Standardisation of the design and recycling of single-use vapes could ease the burden on recyclers and enable automation of the recycling process, as opposed to manual dismantling. However, any product standard would take time to develop, implement and enforce. This option fails to promote the use of reusable alternatives. Due to concerns over feasibility, this option was not considered a reasonable alternative to banning the sale and supply of single-use vapes.

105. Tax on single-use vapes (per device). A number of countries, including Italy and Sweden, have introduced various forms of tax on vapes, but many of them base the tax on the volume of liquid consumed rather than a tax per device, and cover vapes overall rather than specifically targeting single-use devices. In the March 2024 Spring Budget, the UK Government announced a UK-wide Vaping Products Duty expected to be implemented in October 2026. This is to be targeted at nicotine strength of liquid in vaping products more generally, and not targeted specifically at single-use devices. The implementation of a tax on single-use vapes (per device), rather than – or in addition to - a general vaping duty that also covers reusable vapes, would reduce the affordability of single-use vapes and would be effective in reducing consumption, potentially reducing the absolute number of those incorrectly disposed of and the associated environmental impacts. It would also generate tax revenue for the government. Depending on the tax amount, the price of single-use vapes could rise to parity with reusable vapes, thereby discouraging the use of single-use vapes. However, it is more likely that an increase in the price of single-use vapes would dissuade the younger age groups as it is currently argued that vapes are more accessible due to their affordability. High taxes for single-use vapes could encourage switching to reusable vapes, for those that can afford them. It is unlikely that an increase in price of single-use vapes would encourage a switch to cigarettes due to their cost. A further risk with a tax is that the effectiveness is likely to reduce over time without further intervention and so the desired impacts may not be sustained. This is because, similarly to cigarettes, vapes contain the addictive substance nicotine, which may mean that vape consumers will seek them out whatever the tax burden to satisfy the nicotine cravings. Additionally, a tax would not necessarily address the littering behaviour or remove the environmental impacts altogether since it wouldn’t boost, or ease recycling of single-use vapes. A tax could be used to help fund other options - such as creating recycling infrastructure to recycle single-use vapes – however, ring-fencing tax revenues is a very uncommon practice in the UK.

106. Information campaign to increase the number of single-use vapes being recycled (non-regulatory option). 75% of vapers think that producers and retailers should provide more information that vapes can be recycled and the word “single-use” should no longer be used in any marketing and promotion.[136] An information campaign specifically targeted at single-use vapes, making the instructions of the safe disposal of them more readily available (i.e. consumers knowing that they should always recycle rather than bin or litter their vapes) would raise public awareness of how to safely recycle single-use vapes. However, this could come with complications due to limited recycling capacity in Scotland. Additionally, this approach would be unlikely to achieve the policy objective of accelerating the reduction in environmental harm over time.

107. Prescribing single-use vapes. The licensing and regulation of medicines in the UK is reserved to the UK Government and undertaken on their behalf by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). That includes nicotine-containing products used for medicinal purposes, such as patches or lozenges. It is the MHRA (rather than a UK Government minister) that determines whether a medicine is available on the UK market: either only on prescription, or restricted sale through pharmacies, or for general sale at any retail outlet. There are currently no nicotine vapour products (NVPs) approved by the MHRA for prescription. Vapes cannot be offered on prescription unless and until the MHRA acted to licence an NVP. To achieve a licence, products need to meet the standards of quality, safety, and efficacy expected of medicinal products. If successful, this would allow products to be made available for prescription in Scotland. Approval of a licensed NVP to be prescribed by NHS healthcare professionals in Scotland would generally be achieved through an application to the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), and if recommended for use, consideration by the local Area Drug and Therapeutic Committees of the NHS Boards. However, without a company successfully applying for a licence for their NVPs to be put on a prescription basis the Scottish Government does not have a route to put vapes on prescription and cannot act to make vapes (or single use vapes) prescription-only.

108. Non-regulatory options have been disregarded. Evidence of the voluntary uptake, use and effectiveness of existing non-Regulatory action indicates that regulatory action is needed. The policy aims to ban the sale and supply of single-use vapes in the course of business .

Option 1. Business-as-usual or do-nothing approach. This would maintain the status quo, where sellers of single-use vapes can continue to supply them onto the Scottish market with no restrictions.

Option 2. Implementation of a ban on the sale and supply in the course of business of single-use vapes .

109. The concurrent Impact Assessment[137] being undertaken by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) considers other options alongside the preferred option of a ban. These are:

Option 0: ‘Do nothing’.

Option 1 (preferred): A ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes.

Option 2 (non-regulatory): Information campaign to increase the number of single-use vapes being recycled (non-regulatory option).

110. Defra’s final Impact Assessment concludes that Option 2 (non-regulatory action) has a low likelihood of being effective and being unable to address the issue quickly and has therefore not been pursued.

Sectors and Groups Affected

111. A ban on the sale and supply single-use vapes has the potential to impact upon everybody in Scotland who vapes, as well as those affected by their use and improper disposal. The proposed ban is intended to apply across Scotland and does not specifically target particular groups, geographical locations, or sections of society.

112. The following sectors and groups will be directly or indirectly impacted by the implementation of the ban on single-use vapes:

  • Producers and importers of single-use vapes.
  • Retailers and wholesalers of single-use vapes.
  • Consumers of single-use vapes.
  • Healthcare sector.
  • Public sector (local authorities and Scottish Government).

Waste management sector.

113. While many businesses operating in the retail sector sell single-use vapes in various forms, there may be differences in impacts resulting from a ban. Large chains which offer many products and services may find that the lost profit from no longer being able to sell single-use vapes will have a negligible impact on their overall revenue and profitability. Small and independent retailers may see a larger impact, especially those which have specialised in the sale of single-use vapes. Whilst it is not possible to quantify the difference between large, medium, and small businesses, such issues are noted in the Scottish Firms Impact Test section below.

Approach to modelling the policy options and assumptions.

114. The cost-benefit model takes the findings from Defra’s final impact assessment and applies a Scottish population share to the costs and benefits to arrive at an estimate for the impacts on Scottish business and society. It should be noted that the Defra cost-benefit model applies a similar approach to provide English impacts, as all four nations are applying their own legislation towards a common goal of banning single-use vapes across the UK. This means that a Scottish population share of England taken to assess proportional impacts is using a similar approach to Defra’s modelling in many respects. The four nations are coordinating efforts to align their approaches to support the implementation of these four separate pieces of legislation. The Welsh and Northern Irish administrations have indicated that they will take the same path on assumptions and methodologies.

115. There is substantial evidence of similar consumption habits between Scottish and English (and other UK) buyers of single-use vapes, the retail market that sells them, and the importers, wholesalers, and distributors involved in the wider supply chain. For example, the basis for the projection of single-use vape sales in England, for the purposes of the establishment of a counterfactual scenario against a ban, was based upon Zero Waste Scotland projections for year-on-year growth rates in single-use vape consumption.[138]

116. Given there is little to no evidence pointing towards the existence of a domestic industry for manufacturing single-use vapes in Scotland, or in the rest of the UK, it is very likely that the supply chain for the importing, distribution, and sale of single-use vapes is managed through a mixture of businesses and organisations throughout the UK. This makes disentangling Scottish impacts from that of England, and the rest of the UK, difficult. As such, the basis of Defra’s modelling for England in terms of the supply chain and business impacts is likely to be similar to that of Scotland when taken proportionally.

117. Defra’s cost-benefit modelling approach itself uses a standardised methodology consistent across the whole of the UK for the appraisal of the impacts of policy interventions. The overarching guidance which informs all Scottish BRIA’s and similar impact assessments across the UK is the HM Treasury’s Green Book[139], which provides guidance on how to appraise and evaluate policies, projects, and programmes.

Substitution by consumers (switching behaviour)

118. A critical aspect of the modelling approach is the issue of substitution by consumers from single-use vapes to reusable alternatives.

119. Studies have shown that single-use vapes appear to be a substitute for reusable vapes, as well as vapes more generally being substitutes for cigarettes.[140],[141] However, it is difficult to quantify the number of people switching either between different types of vapes (single-use to reusable), from vaping to smoking cigarettes/tobacco, or stopping vaping/smoking altogether because of a ban on single-use vapes. This makes it difficult to predict what the consumption of banned single-use vapes will be replaced by.

120. The Smoking Toolkit Study is run by University College London and consists of monthly surveys of the adult population of England which include detailed questions on smoking and smoking cessation.[142] A recent study using results from this survey was published in 2024 looking at which groups would be affected by a ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes.[143] The findings from this have largely influenced Defra’s analysis for potential consumer switching behaviours and would be applicable to the Scottish population too.

121. Using single-use vape usage proportions split amongst smoking status, we can make assumptions regarding consumer switching behaviour. A brief description of these categories of vapers by smoking status are described as follows:

  • Never smokers: those who never smoked tobacco regularly, but currently vape.
  • Current smokers: those who are dual users, and so smoke tobacco and vape.
  • Recent ex-smokers: those who currently vape but have stopped smoking in the past year.
  • Previous smokers: those who currently vape but stopped smoking over a year ago.

122. Using this information provides the split of smoking status in Table 1. This is used to apportion the number of sales, although it is recognised this is a simplifying assumption as not all users necessarily purchase the same number of products, and it is difficult to predict whether there will be any volume effects (e.g. current single-use vape users switching to reusable vapes and vaping less altogether).

Table 1 Share of single-use vape users by smoking status:

Single-use vape user category by smoking status: Proportion of single-use vape users[144]

  • Never smokers: 20%
  • Current smokers: 49%
  • Recent ex-smokers: 10%
  • Previous smokers: 20%

123. It is assumed that those who have never smoked regularly will end up quitting vaping/smoking altogether as the ban is likely to discourage an uptake of vaping amongst these users, particularly as a significant proportion of this sub-group are aged 18-24 and have driven the rapid rise in vaping among young never-smokers. It is also assumed those who are long-term previous smokers are more likely to transition to reusables given that they are likely to have been longer-term users of vapes.

124. There is more uncertainty with those who are current smokers and recent ex-smokers, as there is potential for individuals to revert back to only smoking tobacco or re-lapse to smoking. Therefore, data from ASH was used on satisfaction levels for vapes compared with cigarettes and percentages applied to the proportions in Table 1. 52% of current smokers and 28% of ex-smokers are less satisfied with vapes compared with cigarettes[145], and so it is assumed proportions of those categories are likely to revert back to smoking or use alternative non-vaping products, with the remainder likely to switch to reusable vaping alternatives. A summary of these proportions by smoking status and assumptions applied for switching behaviour can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: Share of single-use vape users by assumed switching behaviour
Single-use vape user category by smoking status Switching behaviour assumption Proportion of single-use vape users
Never smokers Quit vaping/smoking altogether 20%
Current smokers Revert back to smoking or alternative non-vaping product 26%
Transition to reusable vapes 24%
Recent ex-smokers Revert back to smoking or alternative non-vaping product 3%
Transition to reusable vapes 7%
Previous smokers Transition to reusable vapes 20%
Total 100%

125. Based on Table 2, it is expected that 51% of current single-use vape users will switch to using reusable vapes as a result of the ban. Defra’s calculations for switching behaviours by consumers only focused on alternative vaping products in the main cost-benefit analysis, however other categories are discussed (e.g. smoking tobacco or alternative non-vaping products) qualitatively as there is more uncertainty. Given there will be some uncertainty with predicting future consumer switching to alternative vaping products, sensitivity analysis was conducted. In the central scenario, 51% of current users of single-use vapes will switch to alternative vaping products; in the low scenario, it is assumed 40% will switch based on research conducted by HMRC as part of the vaping products duty; and in the high scenario, it is assumed 100% of users will switch to reusable alternatives. This is outlined in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Proportions of users switching to alternative vaping products - sensitivity
Low scenario Central scenario High scenario
Proportion of current single-use vape users switching to alternative vaping products 40% 51% 100%

126. It should also be noted that this captures which vape type users mainly use, and so vapers who used single-use as a secondary product are not captured. This may be a particular issue for assessing single-use use, as people who mainly use other e-cigarette devices may buy them as temporary replacements.

127. Given that there are different types of vape, assessment was limited to the most popular two reusable vapes: ‘rechargeable with pre-filled cartridges’ and ‘rechargeable with tank to refill’. Given that the characteristics of these do vary, and there is uncertainty as to which will be more popular as a result of the ban on single-use vapes, it is assumed there will be a 50/50 split between these categories (i.e. of the single-use vape users switching to alternative vaping products, 50% will switch to a refillable tank device and 50% switch to a device with pre-filled cartridges.

128. As the average number of charge cycles for a reusable vape is around 300, it is assumed that one new device will be purchased for every 300 single-use vapes.[146] Refill cartridges are normally sold in packs of 2, and so one pack will be purchased for every 2 single-use vapes. Refillable tank devices are filled with separate e-liquid and this is normally sold in 10ml bottles, which is five times as much as the e-liquid capacity of a single-use vape (2ml) and the tank container for a reusable vape – and so one 10ml bottle of e-liquid will be purchased for every 5 single-use vapes.

Expected Costs and benefits of the preferred option.

129. All indicative estimates used in this analysis are in 2023 prices unless stated otherwise. Figures are modelled over the standard 10-year appraisal period (covering years 2025 – 2034) at a discount rate of 3.5%[147].

130. The monetised costs and benefits form the total Net Present Value (NPV) estimates for the preferred option, estimated over the ten-year appraisal period. Three different scenarios have been developed (low, central and high) to enable sensitivity analysis. These scenarios are based off the proportion of current single-use vape users switching to alternative vaping products as set out in table 3. All values in Table 4 are in 2023 prices with 2025 present value.

131. As noted above, the UK Government’s Option 2 (non-regulatory action) has a low likelihood of being effective and being unable to address the issue quickly and has therefore not been pursued.

Table 4 Scotland: 10-year NPV estimates in £millions (2023 prices, 2025 present value)
Impact Low Central High
(worst case) (best case)
Importers/re-branders – Familiarisation costs 0.0 0.0 0.0
Importers/re-branders – Loss of profit from sales of single-use vapes 333.8 252.9 188.6
Wholesalers – Familiarisation costs 0.0 0.0 0.0
Wholesalers – Loss of profit from sales of single-use vapes 303.4 229.9 171.5
Retailers – Familiarisation costs 0.1 0.0 0.0
Retailers – Loss of profit from sales of single-use vapes 2,068.9 1,567.6 1,169.1
Government – Loss of landfill tax revenue 0.9 0.8 0.7
LAs – Enforcement costs 0.2 0.2 0.2
Total Costs 2,707.4 2,051.5 1,530.2
Importers/re-branders – Profit gained through sale of alternative vaping products 40.0 51.3 100.0
Wholesalers – Profit gained through sale of alternative vaping products 36.3 46.6 90.9
Retailers – Profit gained through sales of alternative vaping products 247.8 317.9 619.6
LAs – Landfill tax savings 0.7 0.8 0.9
LAs – Landfill gate fee savings 0.2 0.2 0.2
LAs – EfW gate fee savings 1.3 1.5 1.6
Society – Reduced litter (amenity) benefit 0.1 0.3 0.5
Society – Disposal incineration emission benefit 0.8 0.9 1.0
Society – Reduced waste fires resulting in reduced GHG emissions (combustion-related) 1.1 1.2 1.4
Society – Reduced waste fires resulting in reduced GHG emissions (black carbon) 5.5 6.2 7.0
Total Benefits 333.8 427.0 823.1
NPV -2,373.5 -1,624.6 -707.1

132. The loss of profits experienced along the supply chain as a result of the ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes is the primary reason the final NPV is negative. However, the ban remains the preferred option due to the non-monetised factors excluded from the NPV estimates. There are several key benefits that have not been monetised, however they have been analysed qualitatively as non-monetised benefits. A ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes will reduce the environmental and social costs caused by the production and incorrect disposal of them. Given that single-use vapes are inherently unsustainable products, a ban on sale and supply is the most effective solution.

133. The main non-monetised costs are:

  • Manufacturer costs – As there is no indication of any domestic manufacturing in Scotland, lost profit, familiarisation, capital investment, and alternative material costs have not been quantified.
  • Excess stock for retailers – the transition period of at least 6 months between the anticipated making of the regulations and their coming into force will allow time for retailers to plan for selling residual stock.
  • Disutility to consumers – Any reductions in consumer convenience and choice through banning single-use vapes will be offset by the gains in addressing environmental and social externalities.

134. The main non-monetised benefits are:

  • Manufacturer benefits - As there is no indication of domestic manufacturing in Scotland, increased profit from either manufacturers switching to selling reusable vapes instead or current manufacturers of reusable vapes have not been quantified.
  • Retailer profit from sales of tobacco or other nicotine products – Analysis of switching behaviour between single-use and reusable vapes is more complex and less certain when applied to tobacco or other nicotine products. Vapes and other tobacco/nicotine products are functionally very different and have different prices. Tobacco in particular is relatively much more expensive than vaping, and there are various policy proposals that seek to reduce or eliminate smoking. Therefore, such impacts have not been monetised. Additionally, and reduction in fuel costs is likely to be small and negligible on the overall CBA.
  • Reduction in fuel costs to retailers – It is likely that if businesses switch to selling reusable vapes, or stop selling vapes altogether, there will be a need for fewer deliveries as each vape lasts longer, and refillable components are lighter than single-use vapes. There is however a great deal of uncertainty over how each business will respond to the ban, and as such these benefits have not been monetised.
  • Further emissions savings to society – Emissions reductions and raw material extraction reductions from reduced manufacture of single-use vapes globally has not been monetised, as there is no evidence of domestic manufacturing in Scotland.

It is also known that littering of single-use vapes can negatively impact terrestrial and marine environments. As however there is limited research on the precise nature of these impacts, they have not been monetised.

135. Retailers will be able to partially offset the lost profit through sales of alternative vaping products, some are also likely further offset this through sales of tobacco/cigarettes and other non-vaping products for nicotine replacement.

136. For tobacco products, it is difficult to predict the switching behaviour using the counterfactual for single use vapes sales. As outlined earlier it is assumed that 51% of current single-use vape users will switch to alternative vaping products, and it is further assumed that 29% of current users will either revert/re-lapse to smoking tobacco or use an alternative nicotine product. For tobacco products, it may not be totally accurate to assume that this proportion of 29% will be constant over the appraisal period because of other policy proposals As a result it has not been possible to monetise any potential profit gained through sales of tobacco products as a result of the ban on single-use vapes

137. Vapes are used for smoking cessation and it is possible that some users shift to other forms of smoking cessation with other products for nicotine replacement following a ban on single-use vapes. However, there is some uncertainty with this, and the variety of products, and no attempt has been made to quantify the potential profit gained through sales with these products.

138. Single-use vape manufacturers may switch to producing reusable vapes (potentially in addition to refill components) but they are likely to lose some profit, otherwise they would have already made the switch. It is expected that the market for reusable vapes will expand and this would further diminish this loss. However, it is reasonable to expect a proportion of the lost profit to be recouped through the production of other items.

139. There is therefore potential for an increased market for current domestic manufacturers of reusable vapes and their refill components. Stakeholder engagement indicated that there is no knowledge of any single-use or reusable vape devices manufactured in Scotland, as well as pre-filled pods/cartridges mostly being produced overseas. Stakeholder engagement also confirmed that the vast majority of e-liquid consumed in Scotland is produced domestically or in the rest of the UK, confirming that there is a considerably large e-liquid production market in the UK.

140. The potential increase in business profits is dependent on changes in consumer behaviour caused by the ban. If consumers switch to refillable vapes (i.e. those with a tank to refill with e-liquid) as opposed to prefilled pod/cartridge devices, there will likely be increased profit for domestic manufacturers of e-liquid.

141. There is some potential for a reduction in fuel costs to businesses transporting vapes, assuming that they switch to selling reusable vapes and their refill components once single-use vapes have been banned. Not all single-use vapes will be replaced by reusable vapes, but a proportion of them will be the refill components (i.e. refill pods/cartridges and bottles of e-liquid). This is likely to reduce deliveries as each vape lasts longer, and refillable components are lighter than single-use vapes, however there is uncertainty as to how retailers will purchase supplies and in what ratios for the various vaping products, which could differ between businesses. Any reduction in fuel costs (and associated emissions savings) from the ban is likely to be relatively small.

142. Additional emissions savings that have not been monetised include those resulting from a net reduction in the number of single-use vapes manufactured and those associated with the extraction of critical raw materials used in the manufacture of single-use vapes. However, these savings have not been considered as they originate outside of Scotland.

143. From an environmental perspective, when single-use vapes are disposed of incorrectly toxic chemicals and plastics, which eventually break down into micro plastics, can enter the environment and into food chains. It has not been possible to monetise these impacts.

144. Emissions savings from fires at landfill sites were included in the earlier modelling. However, there is insufficient data to monetise the costs of fires caused by single-use vapes at waste sites and on waste trucks.



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