Angela Rayner has admitted she wishes she could give up vaping amid reports the government is considering a ban on disposable devices.
Labour’s deputy leader – whose children call her the “vape dragon” – said she had taken up the practice to give up smoking, but it was “incredibly addictive”.
It comes as government minister Michelle Donelan did not rule out a banning disposable vapes in an interview with Sky News this morning.
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The Daily Telegraph reported that the government is set to ban single-use vapes as early as next week to stop nicotine addiction among children.
Asked about the reports this morning, the science and technology secretary said the government had been “looking into this”.
“This is a very worrying trend that we’re seeing, of young children taking up vaping that had never smoked before, and it is extremely dangerous to their health and their wellbeing is something that we do need to act on,” Ms Donelan said.
Asked again whether disposable vapes will be banned next week, she simply said: “We’ll be making further announcements on this.”
The government’s decision to conduct a review into disposable vapes follows a recommendation from local councils that the devices should be banned on environmental and health grounds.
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The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, has said it is “crucial” a ban comes into force “rapidly” to stop a flood of single-use vapes in the UK market.
The LGA has described disposable vapes as “a hazard” for waste collectors and said they are “almost impossible to recycle without going through special treatment”.
Ms Rayner accused the government of voting against her party’s call for a ban on vapes targeted at children, adding: “Their actions have been failing so far.”
“We want to ensure that vapes are used to get people off smoking as a tool because smoking is very harmful to people’s health.
“But we also have to ensure that our children understand that vaping is not a way forward for them.”
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On her own personal habit, she said: “I wish I could give up vaping. I’m going to do my utmost to make sure that I do that. And young people need to know that vaping is not a way forward and they should not get addicted to it because it is incredibly addictive and costly as well. So they need to stop.”
As well as considering a potential ban, minsters have also said they will crack down on “unacceptable” vape marketing targeting of children and young people.
In May the government pledged to close a loophole that allows shops to offer free samples of vapes to children in England.
There will also be a review into banning retailers selling “nicotine-free” vapes to under-18s as well as a review of the rules on issuing fines to shops that illegally sell vapes to children.