Labour Will Ban ‘child’ Vape Flavours As Starmer Embraces ‘nanny State’


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Labour Will Ban ‘child’ Vape Flavours As Starmer Embraces ‘nanny State’
Labour Will Ban ‘child’ Vape Flavours As Starmer Embraces ‘nanny State’

Labour would ban child-friendly flavours and colours for vapes, Sir Keir Starmer has promised as he embraced the “nanny state” to boost children’s health.

The Leader of the Opposition insisted it was right to intervene to lower the number of children who become critically ill, including by helping to educate parents.

Sir Keir will launch a year of UK-wide “tours” on Thursday to promote his five missions for a future Labour government, starting with the goal to “get the NHS back on its feet”.

He will highlight statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which suggest British children are fatter than the French, less happy than the Turkish and shorter than Haitians.

In February last year the Government announced a similar plan to ban such vape flavours, but has so far failed to bring any legislation forward.

A Labour government would curb junk food advertising on TV, introduce free breakfast clubs in every school, hire more mental health workers including in schools, and recruit dentists in areas that have shortages, the party leader will say.

Speaking to reporters before the start of his tour, Sir Keir promised to ban the marketing of vapes to young people, including through the use of sweet-flavoured and colourful devices.

He said: “Obviously you can’t sell vapes to under-16s, but don’t tell me bubblegum vaping is aimed at your 30-year-old man. It’s pretty obvious.

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“This is where, you know, banning the advertising of vaping which seems to be pretty obviously aimed at children, and all the branding – bubblegum vape? Come on.”

The Labour leader admitted he would face criticism for seeking to intervene in the raising of children, saying: “I know that we need to take on this question of the nanny state.

“The moment you do anything on child health people say ‘You’re going down the road of nanny statey – we want to have that fight.”

Sir Keir added: “I don’t think we can just turn our back on this. One of the proposals we put out there is supervised toothbrushing for three to five year olds and lots of people say ‘Oh that’s nanny state’.

“I have to say when I first read the statistic that for six to 10 year olds, the biggest cause of admissions to hospital is decayed teeth, I was really struck. I mean, I didn’t know that until we started diving into this.

“That is shocking. And I don’t think you can simply say ‘Well, that’s none of our business’. It is our business because it’s the health of the child. But also once you’ve got a child admitted into hospital, it’s costing the taxpayer a fortune.”

The programme of helping children learn how to clean their teeth will form part of Labour’s proposed breakfast clubs.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “While it’s good to see that supervising toothbrushing won’t be a part of the school day itself, or an expectation of teachers, we remain somewhat sceptical about how this will work in practise.

“Questions remain about access to the facilities required to make this proposal work and the staffing implications for breakfast clubs.”

Labour has defied calls from some education unions and campaigners to introduce free school lunches for all children, arguing that the move would prove unaffordable.

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