ACS warns vape ban will fuel illicit market

Industry body says ban will drive illegal trade by £645m

The ACS has claimed that the disposable vape ban will fuel the illicit trade by £645million should the UK Government continue with its current proposals.                                                                                                                          Photo Credit: Vaping360

THE Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the UK Government to focus on effective enforcement of disposable vape devices after the industry body found the disposable ban could inject £645million into the illicit trade.

Following on from Westminster’s short consultation for its proposals on the disposable vape ban which launched earlier this month, the ACS has found that many consumers will turn to the illegal market should the ban come into force next year.

This number comes following a Yonder poll the ACS had conducted which found that almost one in four (24%) of consumers said they would continue to use disposable devices following the ban.

As the only way to access these devices after 1 April 2025 will be through the illegal market, the ACS has found that this will see £645million being spent on through illicit trade.

Not only will this see plenty of responsible retailers massively out of pocket, it also places a great number of consumers at risk to counterfeit devices which are already rife in the unregulated illegal trade.

This revelation from the ACS follows on from the UK Government’s own UK-wide impact assessment on the disposable ban which claimed would cost the sector up to £1billion per year coming as a result of loss of profit to retailers.

James Lowman, chief executive at the ACS, said: “The way that the Government has gone about justifying its case for a ban on disposables is completely inadequate.

“The impact assessment gets basic figures wrong and attempts to sweep the already massive illicit market under the rug.

“What the Government is trying to avoid is a meaningful debate about enforcement and proper funding for Trading Standards to be able to stop rogue traders, because it knows that Trading Standards teams are already stretched to their limits and do not have the resources to keep up.

“Banning something does not mean it ceases to exist. If the Government were really committed to stopping children getting their hands on disposable vapes, then they would focus on cracking down on the illicit trade and enforcing the laws that already exist to prevent children from accessing these products.”