Prohibition of the sale and supply of single-use vapes: Island Communities Impact Screening Assessment

Island Communities Impact Screening Assessment (ICIA) for the proposed prohibition on the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland.

Wider policy context

28. The Scottish Government is committed to moving towards a circular economy, where we move from a "take, make and dispose" model to one where we value materials and keep them in use. Reusable vapes are a readily available alternative to single-use vapes and have a much longer lifespan. They are made from more durable materials and are built to last longer. Although they are initially more expensive[36], reusable vapes are more cost-effective in the long term. Reusable vapes are considered to be less environmentally damaging, as the same vape can be used for an extended period of time compared to single-use vapes. This causes little change in consumer experience while reducing environmental impacts.

29. The Department of Health and Social Care published a call for evidence on youth vaping in April 2023[37] where the impact of vapes on the environment was a key theme of interest. A summary of responses to this call for evidence was published in October 2023, highlighting many of the key issues in relation to the damaging impact on the environment caused by single-use vapes.[38]

30. There are measures already in place to ensure responsible production and disposal of vapes. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013[39] aim to encourage the reuse and recycling of these items by placing financial responsibilities on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to pay for the collection and disposal schemes for end-of-life products. This means that all producers who place EEE on the UK market, including producers of single-use vapes, are responsible for financing the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery, and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE.

31. Compliance with the current WEEE regulations by vape producers is estimated to be low. This includes low levels of awareness amongst store owners and distributors for takeback schemes, as well as low levels of customer participation reported.[40]

32. Plans to reform the producer responsibility system for waste electrical and electronic equipment[41] have recently been consulted on. Proposals under review include the provision of collection infrastructure for household WEEE financed by producers of electrical and electronic equipment; reforms to the take-back obligations that currently apply to distributors; obligations on online marketplaces; and creating a new separate categorisation for vapes to ensure producers of vapes properly finance recycling costs when they become waste. The reported low awareness of producer obligations ought to be addressed by the implementation of these producer responsibility reforms.

33. To target the environmental issues associated with single-use vapes, the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the Welsh Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland intend to introduce legislation to implement a ban on the sale and supply of disposable (single-use) vapes. This includes both nicotine and non-nicotine containing products since the environmental concerns exist for both types of products.

34. More information on the 'Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping' consultation, responses received, and the government response can be found at the UK Government website.[42]



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