Deputy commits to finding ’effective’ and fast way to ban vapes for Jersey youths

Vaping Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37476937)

JERSEY’S new government will continue to tackle underage vaping, according to the Environment Minister.

Deputy Steve Luce said he was “looking at the most effective and quickest way” for a ban on disposable e-cigarettes to be introduced in Jersey.

However, Deputy Luce admitted that it was a “complex issue”, and said that government would “need to speak with vape retailers, users, young Islanders and other stakeholders before introducing any potential ban”. It comes as the UK government last month announced plans to ban disposable vapes to tackle the rising number of young people taking up vaping.

Measures will also be introduced in the UK to prevent e-cigarettes being marketed at children and to target under-age sales.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested adult smokers trying to quit would still have access to alternatives like vapes under the proposals, but said it was right that “strong action” was taken to stamp out vaping in children.

Statistics from the UK show that the number young people vaping is rising year-on-year, and Jersey is facing the same issues.

Statistics Jersey’s Opinions and Lifestyle Survey recently revealed that half of Islanders between the age of 16 and 34 had experimented with vaping.

Despite laws against selling vapes to under-18s in Jersey, the 2021 Jersey Children and Young People Survey further found that 58% of 16- to 17-year-olds had tried e-cigarettes, with about one-third using them occasionally or regularly.

A joint investigation by Bailiwick Express and the Jersey Evening Post last year revealed how sweet-inspired flavours, highlighter-style packaging, and a lack of regulation meaning products that are illegal in the UK can still be sold locally had helped spawn what one local doctor described as a “generation of nicotine-addicted kids” in Jersey. Ministers in Deputy Kristina Moore’s government announced plans to ban disposable vapes for both environmental and health-related reasons, but no new regulations came into force.

At the time, it was explained that the proposed ban would be subject to consultation, but could be introduced through an extension of the Single Use Plastics Law which would come under the remit of the Environment Minister.

Deputy Luce said: “I committed, in the States Assembly this week, to continuing the work on disposable vapes and looking at the most effective and quickest way for any such ban to be introduced.

“Officers have already been looking at which mechanism or laws would be best for this, and I will sit down with them for a briefing in the next few weeks.

“This is an area that will require close joint working across the Council of Ministers, particularly with the Health Minister, the Infrastructure, and the Economic Development Minister.”

He added: “Disposable vapes can contain plastic, glass, cardboard, a microprocessor, a small battery and chemicals.

“The separated parts can be recycled, but it’s a complicated, manual process that takes a lot of time and resource.

“We know many users simply throw them in the bin after use, and there are also concerns from a health perspective.

“I recognise that this is a complex issue, and we’d need to speak with vape retailers, users, young Islanders and other stakeholders before introducing any potential ban.”

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