Tougher controls on vape sales are being planned

CONTROLS on the sale of vapes are likely to come from the States after concerns have been raised that they can be bought locally without any legal restrictions.

Ben Henry, waste prevention and recycling officer.  (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32132956)
Ben Henry, waste prevention and recycling officer. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32132956)

Currently it is down to individual shops to enforce a voluntary age restriction.

Guernsey is now one of the few places in western Europe, along with Switzerland, without any legislation on the sale of e-cigarettes.

Recent data has shown that secondary school children in Guernsey are more than twice as likely to have tried vaping than their UK counterparts.

Health & Social Care president Al Brouard said his committee had recently agreed to move towards greater regulation.

‘This work is at an early stage and requires further discussion and engagement,’ he said.

‘However, the committee is keen to progress this work as quickly as possible, while of course being mindful of resources constraints and other pressures, and aims to publish a policy letter before the end of this year.

‘In the first instance, we would expect regulation to include how these products can be promoted, or not as the case may be, and an age of sale ban to under-18s.’

Deputy Simon Vermeulen is one of a number of deputies who have raised concerns about a lack of regulation around vaping locally.

‘I do have concerns on the impact on health, and especially the young population,’ he said.

‘I am most concerned for the young, they think it’s cool, but there is nothing cool about risking your health. It’s not big and it’s not clever.’

The UK introduced legislation in 2015, Jersey and the EU in 2016, and the Isle of Man earlier this year.

Data from the Guernsey young people survey 2022 showed that 38% of secondary school students said they had tried vaping.

In a UK survey by pressure group Ash, Action on Smoking and Health, the rate for 11- to 17-year-olds was less than 16%.

Deputy Vermeulen said the States had been way too slow in introducing laws prohibiting the sale and marketing of vaping.

‘We need tighter legislation and more control,’ he said.

Deputy Aidan Matthews, who sits on Health & Social Care and Environment & Infrastructure, said that both committees were keen to introduce new regulations.

‘We are playing catch-up. I think this is one of the areas where there is a backlog of legislation. We had talked about it at HSC, and then it came up in E&I because of the impact on waste.

‘The disposables are terrible for the environment.

‘A lot are not disposed of properly, and we want to address it from both angles.’

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