Prohibition of the sale and supply of single-use vapes: equality impact assessment results - interim

The interim equality impact assessment results for the proposed prohibition of the sale and supply of single-use vapes.

Key Findings

33. The proposal to prohibit the sale and supply of single use vapes is predominantly focused on reducing the environmental impacts of single-use vapes. However, it is acknowledged that the use of vapes has a public health rationale as a possible smoking cessation tool[40].

34. At this stage it is considered that the positive environmental impact that the proposal will deliver outweighs any identified impacts for protected characteristic groups.

35. Prohibiting the sale and supply of single-use vapes will impact all current users of single-use vapes and require current and future users to purchase alternative options.

36. At this stage, it has been identified there is potential for negative impacts for those with physical and mental health conditions, and for older people. This may be particularly relevant where vapes are being used as a smoking cessation tool.

37. Reusable vapes require chambers to be refilled or cartridges to be replaced which may impact those with limited dexterity and, or, visual impairments. There are currently several versions of reusable vapes, with some possibly easier for individuals suffering from dexterity or visual impairments. This includes devices such as pod kits, open tank devices, refill cartridges and closed pre-filled pods.[41]

38. However, at present the alternative to single-use vapes may not be suitable to allow for current levels of independence and dignity for all affected. This will be considered further during the consultation period.

39. For individuals with mental health conditions[42], specifically those in institutional settings who currently use single-use vapes, a move to reusable devices is not currently thought to create any significant difficulties. Discussions with relevant Scottish Government departments suggests practical steps are already in place, or could be put in place, to ensure safe use of reusable vapes within facilities such as prisons and care settings.

40. With a sufficient lead-in period to the ban coming into force (minimum 6 months), there will be time for a gradual transition to reusable vapes, supported by facility staff where required to help with safe charging. For example, discussions with the Scottish Prison Service concluded that replacing single-use vapes with reusable vapes utilising prison staff support would be a practical step to ensure safe use of reusable vapes. It is reasonable to assume that with sufficient lead-in time to adapt to these changes, mental health and other care facilities could also allow for staff to charge reusable vapes for patients to use where required. This aligns with the National Fire Chief’s Council guidance note ‘E-cigarette use in smokefree NHS settings’.[43]

41. Given the increase in use of single-use vapes amongst young people[44] and a higher percentage of users in younger age brackets (including under 18s), they are likely to be impacted by the proposal. The recent Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (Scotland) study[45] reports that 3% of 11-year-olds, 10% of 13-year-olds and 25% of 15-year-olds said they had used a vape in the past 30 days. The report also found that there have been increases in current vape use since 2018 for 13-year-old girls (2% to 13%) and larger increases for 15-year-olds (girls 6% to 30% and boys 8% to 20%).[46] However, as vapes are currently illegal for individuals under the age of 18, the proposal will also offer the potential of a significant positive impact on children and young persons’ rights and wellbeing. This issue has also been considered further in the accompanying children's rights and welfare impact assessment.

42. While there may be potential for the proposal to impact those where English is not a first language, it is expected the proportionality of this is low. However, accessible and inclusive communication will be central to ensure high levels of participation and understanding around the proposal.

43. There is a potential positive impact identified for reduced littering associated with single-use vapes. Whilst this will create a benefit for all age groups, it may be more significant for younger people (16-24) whose perceptions of their area are more likely to be negatively impacted by littering.[47]

44. This EQIA has helped to highlight areas where there may potentially be impacts on certain protected characteristics. It can help us to design accessible communication and engagement during the consultation with those people potentially affected, along with relevant equality representative groups. This will help to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.

45. A fairer Scotland duty assessment (FSDA), an island communities impact assessment (ICIA) and a Children’s Rights and Welfare Impact Assessment (CRWRIA) , are also being conducted alongside this Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA). The equality outcomes considered in this summary have links with the potential impacts identified in the FSDA and CRWIA, so this document should be read in conjunction with the other impact assessments.



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