An Argument for the Ban on Disposable Vapes


Will banning disposable vapes actually work to discourage people from using them?

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By Daisy Couture

Recently it was announced by the government that disposable vapes are to be banned in England, Scotland and Wales.

For many university students, this is probably horrendous news.

I have never personally partaken in the fad of vaping (disposable or otherwise), but I know many people who will miss standing in the smoking area of Salvation or Flares with a cherry-flavoured device in hand.

Once an avid social smoker, I can't say that I miss the feeling of nicotine filling my lungs whilst four vodka shots deep. Vapes appear to do nothing other than mask that thick smoky flavour with artificial fruit or confectionary.

We have been told, time and time again, that vaping is less harmful than smoking - this is, for the most part, true. Vapes contain far fewer toxic chemicals than cigarettes, yet they still contain their fair share. In fact, vapes and E-cigarettes are generally only recommended for cigarette smokers looking to quit; the NHS actively discourages non-smokers to begin vaping.

However, this is not meant to be a debate on cigarettes versus vapes; this is a question of how much good banning disposable vapes will really do.

In my opinion, this is a great thing. As I previously mentioned, vaping seems to be popular in universities - according to a recent survey by The Tab, over half of university students vape. This number is growing in younger people too; it appears that around 15 percent of 16-17-year-olds have access to vapes, as well as 18 percent of 18-year-olds.

Surely these figures are alarming. Vapes may be better for your body than cigarettes, but by no means does this suggest that they are good for your body. Vapes still contain nicotine, the same highly addictive substance found in cigarettes, as well as low levels of cannabis and food grade flavouring.

The effects of vaping are being more closely looked into since their sharp increase in popularity. Short-term effects such as throat and mouth irritation, headaches, coughs and nausea are fairly tame, and probably aren't enough to put vapers off for life. Some suggested long-term effects are much scarier though. For example, diacetyl, a common flavouring agent found in vapes, can cause 'popcorn lung' - inflammation and permanent scarring in the lungs - which makes it difficult to breathe. However, perhaps the scariest thing of all is the fact that we are yet to discover the true breadth of the effects of vaping. The practice is not yet distinguished enough for us to be able to determine the exact damage that vapes do like we can with cigarettes.

It is quite clear why, for the most part, younger people (teenagers and students in particular) prefer to vape rather than to smoke. Smoking no longer wears the badge of 'cool' and 'mysterious' - it makes your teeth and fingers yellow, your breath smell smoky and I'd be hard pressed to find even one person who can argue that it tastes anything close to good. There is also the risk of cancer forever looming over the 's' word nowadays that wasn't really talked about until recent years. People were aware of the risks for a long time, but it didn't seem to scare them as much as it does now.

As well as the cigarette's dying popularity, vapes taste nice. Well, allegedly. Their flavours are generally sweet, composed of flavourings such as strawberry, kiwi-lime, coca-cola or candy floss; things that young people tend to consume. One of the worst things about smoking, in my opinion, is the taste (I'm sorry to every serious smoker out there who will probably chastise me for daring to say something so sacrilegious). Covering that up with a fruity veil is a sneaky (albeit genius) way of ensuring the development of a nicotine addiction without having to endure the gnarly aftertaste of an actual cigarette.

I will address the argument that always seems to crop up when debating the banning of things; that banning items will only cause them to reappear in more illicit, dangerous ways. This may well be true of vapes. Perhaps they will be obtained illegally and sold underground. They are addictive substances; anybody who knows the first thing about addiction is aware of the lengths that addicts will go to in order to fulfil their needs. I really don't doubt for one second that this will be a difficult law to enforce; do those who already own vapes have to throw them away? Is somebody going to go and check on every single person who has a vape, and arrest them if they refuse to hand it over? Highly unlikely.

Chances are, everybody who currently owns a disposable vape will be able to hang onto it and use it until it runs out. Anybody who is thinking about obtaining a disposable vape in the future will not be able to purchase one.

And I think that this is a huge step in the right direction. The government's intention with this law is to protect the health of young people. How can the notion of children no longer wandering into high-street shops, handing over a fake ID and purchasing a vape rub some people up the wrong way?

Children will not be obtaining their vapes illegally - or at least, we'd like to think not. Cutting off their supply at the source is surely the most effective way to tackle this nationwide issue.