Single-use vapes could be banned in Scotland under plans announced by Humza Yousaf in his first Programme for Government.

The First Minister outlined a commitment to take action to reduce vaping among non-smokers and young people and to tackle the environmental impact of single-use vapes.

The proposals include consulting on a proposal to ban their sale and other appropriate measures.

Research suggests that almost one in five of teenagers have tried vapes.

Estimates by Zero Waste Scotland revealed that up to 26 million disposable vapes were consumed and thrown away in Scotland in the last year, with 10% being littered and more than half disposed of incorrectly.

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Following a request of Scottish Ministers, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater and Public Health Minister Jenni Minto will meet with counterparts in the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to discuss the findings of recent research and potential policy responses.

In addition, action to help ensure that children, young people and non-smokers do not use these devices will also be set out in the Scottish Government’s tobacco action plan, which will set out our road map to 2034.

Mr Yousaf said: “Disposable vapes are a threat to both public health and the environment.

“We know that the bright colours and sweet flavours catch the eye of children and young people in particular.

“The World Health Organisation has said there is evidence to suggest that young people who have never smoked but use e-cigarettes, double their chance of starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes in later life.

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“Last year we consulted on restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products.

"Any action we seek to take will build on the regulations already in place to restrict the marketing, promotion and sale of vaping products to under 18s and the findings will be used to inform the refreshed tobacco action plan.”

The First Minister added: “On the environment, the evidence is undeniable – from litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which demand action.

“We will be working constructively with retailers and other stakeholders to come up with solutions. While we will be asking for views on a ban, we are also keen to explore other interventions that could have a more immediate impact.

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“Of course, this is not just an issue for Scotland – these problems are being experienced all over the UK and we will soon be holding discussions on potential solutions.”

Charity ASH Scotland has welcomed the pledge to consider a ban on disposable vapes.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: “We have been alarmed for some time about the upsurge of children across Scotland using disposable e-cigarettes so welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to consulting on proposals that include an outright ban on the health harming recreational vaping products.

“Young people who use e-cigarettes are three times more likely to start smoking cigarettes and only a ban would ensure the availability of single-use health-harming products that have become so popular with children are off the market as soon as possible.

“France is currently in the process of banning disposable e-cigarettes and their law could be enacted before the end of this year. Several other European countries are considering bans too so Scotland has a great opportunity to re-establish itself as a leading public health nation by prohibiting the sale or use of these products in 2024.

“By implementing a ban on the sale of disposable e-cigarettes, Scotland can start to address the exponential rise in young people vaping which is being driven by these products, safeguard public health and mitigate the environmental impacts."

Friends of the Earth Scotland circular economy campaigner, Kim Pratt, said: “The evidence that single-use vapes are harmful to young people and polluting our environment is overwhelming.

“Businesses have been allowed to put profit before their obligations to provide safe disposal service for these products. The quickest and surest way to end the harm caused by single-use vapes is to ban them.

“While consultation on a ban is welcome, we don’t have time to change our economy one product at a time. From wasteful plastic packaging to phones that can’t be fixed, and harmful products like single-use vapes, everything we own needs to become more sustainable.”