DAERA announces plans to ban single use vapes by April 2025

DAERA announces plans to ban single use vapes by April 2025

Ambitious plans have been announced to ban the sale and supply of single use vapes in Northern Ireland by April 2025.

Announced by Environment Minister Andrew Muir MLA, it is planned to prohibit the sale and supply of disposable vapes in Northern Ireland, in parallel with the rest of the UK.

Approximately five million single use vapes are thrown away or littered every week throughout the UK and the Minister has said he is committed to taking action.

The move also recognises what he calls the “strong support from the Northern Ireland public” for a ban on single use vapes in response to the UK-wide consultation on ‘Creating a Smokefree Generation and Tackling Youth Vaping’.

“I have listened to concerns over the environmental impact of single use vapes and I’m delighted to announce that my Department us taking action to progress a ban on the sale and supply of single use vapes in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Muir MLA.

Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir MLA.

“The environmental damage created by the alarming rise in the littering and incorrect disposal of used vapes is a key concern. Single use vape waste introduces plastic, nicotine salts, metals and lithium-ion batteries into the environment and can have a devastating impact on our environment and biodiversity,” he added.

However, the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has said it is dismayed by the government’s decision to impose a UK-wide ban on disposable vapes, saying they have been “instrumental” in bringing the UK’s smoking rate down to a record low.

In a statement to NR, UKVIA’s Director General, John Dunne said vapes have played a key role in helping millions of adults quit and stay off cigarettes.

“While action to prevent youth access to vaping is critical, this move smacks of a desperate attempt by the government to sacrifice vapers for voters ahead of the upcoming General Election,” he said.

“The answer to youth vaping doesn’t lie in counterproductive bans and restrictions, but rather in effective and proactive enforcement – which is woefully lacking – of the law which states that it is illegal for vapes to be sold to minors.

John Dunne, Director General of UKVIA.

“It’s why the UKVIA has been part of a major industry-wide consultation that has developed a vape retail and distributor licensing scheme to make it harder for the rogue traders to get away with underage and illicit sales,” he added.

“Such a scheme would raise £50m a year, which could be used to help a heavily under-resourced Trading Standards to more effectively police the illegal vape market.”

A single use vapes working group has been formed between Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Under current plans, each nation will progress its own legislation and have agreed to work towards a joint coming into force date of 1st April 2025.

Mr Muir MLA added: “Whilst timelines are extremely ambitious, my department is working at pace to progress this piece of work. I also welcome the collaborative engagement between government officials across the UK to address single use vape issues.

“Alignment of approaches will deliver shared health and environmental benefits and will help provide clarity for businesses which are currently selling single use vaping products.”