Kingston Council Tightens Vaping Rules To Safeguard Young People

Kingston Council Tightens Vaping Rules To Safeguard Young People
Kingston Council Tightens Vaping Rules To Safeguard Young People

Kingston Council has resolved to ban vaping products adverts on council land as well as “redoubling” efforts to carry out “regular test purchases”. 

During the meeting on 14 December, the council resolved to write to the Home Secretary James Cleverly, to request “tighter regulations” on vape marketing, including a banning on “brightly-coloured packaging” and a review of vape flavours which are “likely to appeal to children”.    

Cllr Andrew Wooldridge (Liberal Democrats), described vaping as “extremely rude” and highlighted vaping as “one of the key issues affecting children in Kingston”. 

This comes as ‘Puffin Vapes’ advertised on the council-owned Fountain Roundabout in New Malden earlier this year.   

Whilst the council acknowledged that there is “growing evidence” e-cigarettes can help people give up smoking, they also said that “this isn’t without risk”. 

Data from Action on Smoking Health (ASH) shows that over the past three years, vaping amongst teenagers has risen sharply from 4% in 2021 to 20.5% in 2023.  

In response, the Local Government Association (LGA), a national membership body for local authorities (of which Kingston council is a part), called on members to step up enforcement to prevent underage vape sales. 

This includes a call to follow cigarette marketing legislation and prohibit the use of child-friendly, colourful packaging that is common to many vaping products.

According to Independent Cllr Jamal Chohan four shops have been caught selling vapes to children in Kingston and a further 5000 “non-compliant” vapes have been seized from 25 shops in the past year alone. 

A recent Chartered Trading Standard Institute research found that 60% of local trading standards services reported high street shops selling vapes to children.  

At the same time, they also reported a “significant rise” in underage vape sales last year, with more than a fifth of young people buying vapes from newsagents with 16.3% buying from supermarkets. 

Cllr Wooldridge lamented the fact that vaping does not fall under smoke-free legislation, so enforcement is limited to age-related sales along with “some educational project work”.  

He also pointed out that the sale of vapes was not a “licensable activity”, meaning unlike with alcohol, you do not need a license to sell them. 

This means that regulation of vape sales falls under the jurisdiction of Trading Standards, who only deal with the safety of vapes and not with compliance or underage sales.  

Addressing this issue, the Cllr Wooldridge called upon the government to act, urging them to include vaping in their plans to create a “smoke-free generation”.   

Vaping is not included in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plans to phase out smoking by prohibiting the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to those born after 1 January 2009. 

The government do, however, have plans to outlaw child-friendly marketing, child-friendly flavours and the underage sale of vapes.  



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