BAT urges regulation over vapes

Nicotine category giant puts forward solutions to disposables issue

BAT is calling for a retail licence to sell vapes – similar to one for alcohol and tobacco.
BAT is calling for a retail licence to sell vapes – similar to one for alcohol and tobacco.

BRITISH American Tobacco (BAT) has pushed the UK Government to introduce new legislation for the vaping industry to avoid an outright ban on disposables.

The firm has launched a new multi-pronged media campaign appealing for new regulations and calling for more restrictions on who can sell vaping products to help cut out underage vaping and support the Government’s Smoke-Free by 2030 ambition.

BAT has called for those who sell vapes to require a retail licence, similar to that in place already for alcohol and cigarettes, which would be revoked if they were found to be selling to anyone underage.

Alongside this, retailers would also have to demonstrate to Trading Standards that they observe either Challenge 25 protocols or new age verification technologies at point-of-sale locations such as facial recognition tech.

Furthermore, BAT has called for an outright ban on dessert and soft drink flavours across the market, along with marketing slogans and imagery involving toys, cartoons and sweets.

In addition to tackling underage vaping in its latest campaign, BAT has also called for disposables to be made more environmentally responsible by making it mandatory for the products to contain removable batteries to make recycling them more straightforward.

Finally, the firm has also said that products shipped to the UK should be subject to mandatory testing programmes to ensure they are compliant with the UK regulations before sale.

BAT reckons these new regulations would not only prevent more underage consumers from taking up vaping but also support the Government’s ambition towards a smoke-free future, which vaping will be crucial to according to BAT.

Asli Ertonguc, BAT lead for the UK, said: “Vaping is the key to unlocking the UK’s smokefree target.

“As the largest manufacturer of vaping products in the UK, we are clear on our responsibilities and are urging the Government to introduce more stringent vaping regulations.

“We believe that underage users should never vape, so we want confectionery, dessert and soft drink flavours to be banned and the introduction of a new regime for how and where vapes are sold.”

The new campaign from BAT launched before the UK Government consultation on the ban of disposable vapes concluded on 6 December, underscoring the firm’s commitment to the UK’s smoke-free ambitions and the steps it is willing to take to ensure the responsible retailing of vaping products.

BAT argued that regulation that strikes the balance between promoting harm reduction and diminishing the risk of unintended underage use offers the best chance of meeting the Government’s 2030 target, while also recognising the important role that vaping plays in helping to support smokers as a cessation tool, with flavours a key driver for adoption across the category.

Ertonguc said: “We recognise that some want single use vapes banned altogether, but we are concerned such a move would lead to unregulated sales and less options for adult smokers looking to switch.

“Governments should wield their enforcement powers to help rebuild confidence in vaping by ensuring adult consumers can buy legitimate products, and suitably penalising those who fail to comply.”