THE children’s commissioner has called for a ban on vape marketing ‘designed to be appealing to kids’ amid concerns that it is creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.
Andrea Le Saint also said that there needed to be a ‘tightening up of regulations’ in the Island as a joint JEP and Bailiwick Express investigation revealed that vaping products illegal in the UK were freely available in Jersey due to legal loopholes that were not closed because of ‘pandemic pressures’.
The investigation also highlighted concerns that the bright colours and fruity flavours of vapes were appealing to the younger generation rather than the ex-smokers which they were originally intended for.
‘There seems to be a particular marketing strategy that is designed to be appealing to kids,’ said Ms Le Saint.
‘We would like to see a ban on that sort of marketing, similar to the branding [restrictions] on conventional cigarettes.’
Cigarette packets come with graphic health warnings, and must not be on public view in shops. But there are no such restrictions for vapes, which the children’s commissioner said were becomingly increasingly popular and ‘seen as cool’ by young Islanders.
As part of the investigation into vaping, the JEP and Bailiwick Express conducted an online poll asking: ‘Should the sale and packaging of vapes be subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes?’
Of the 672 respondents, 88% said ‘yes’ while 12% answered ‘no’.
A recent survey of 2,000 UK teenagers revealed that a third said they had vaped at least once, with 70% of those agreeing that they would be less likely to have vaped if the flavours were less appealing.
In Jersey, ministers recently announced plans to follow other jurisdictions by banning disposable vapes for ‘both environmental and health-related reasons’.
Published this week, the draft Government Plan proposes that vape products could be taxed in future with the aim of ‘reducing the consumption of nicotine’ and helping to ‘meet the social costs of vaping’.
The plan includes a 15.9% increase on duty on tobacco products from January, but no immediate taxation on e-cigarettes or vapes.
However, it does outline plans to ‘undertake a study of the potential role for taxation both in reducing the consumption of nicotine and other potentially harmful e-liquids by vaping, particularly among young Islanders’.
Health Minister Karen Wilson said: ‘The government have already made it illegal to sell and supply e-cigarettes, vapes and related products to under-18s.
‘Ministers have announced their future plans, the detail of which will be shared when appropriate to do so. Public Health will be involved in this work.’
‘I would like to remind Islanders that vaping is not risk-free,’ she added. ‘Vaping poses less risk to health than smoking. However, the long-term effects of vaping on the human body are not yet known.’