A HEALTH charity boss has welcomed Scotland’s plans for a ban on disposable vapes as she believes manufacturers have found the sweet spot for the marketing of the product towards young people.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of health charity ASH Scotland, believes disposable vape devices have become the main cause of a “meteoric rise” in the use of the products in schools.

“What I am seeing is the same playbook that was used by the tobacco industry in the past,” she said.

“They are clearly targeting a youth market, the colours are sort of bright colours, young people are buying them to match with their outfits and as fashion statements, the flavours are clearly based on kind of fizzy drinks and sweeties and junk food, and are named and marketed as such.”

“The price point is astonishing; I mean you can buy them for under a fiver and I’ve seen them on sale for £1.99 each. In terms of youth uptake and addiction, it’s a disaster and these are 69% used by young people they are not being used by adults at the moment.”

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In his first Programme for Government published earlier this month, First Minister Humza Yousaf included plans for action in the next year to reduce vaping among children and young people.

He said in his speech to the Scottish Parliament: “The Government will also consult on curbing the sale of disposable single-use vapes, including consulting on an outright ban.”

Other countries have recently introduced similar bans.

Australia banned all disposable e-cigarettes this year with prescriptions now being required for the remaining legal products which now must have pharmaceutical packaging. Any advertisement of vape devices is also completely banned.

Despite disposable vapes being age-restricted, they are still getting into the hands of people under the age of 18 and are now available everywhere including places which hadn’t sold tobacco products in the past.

The National: SHEILA DUFFY: Not smoking helps keep brain healthy.

Duffy (above) said: “We are seeing an exponential rise in very young children using these products – 11 to 12-year-olds and primary school kids and we haven’t seen that with tobacco for decades.”

“So, this is an urgent public health problem and it’s not being treated as urgently as it should be, and it has led to a doubling of 13-year-olds regularly using these products in the last few years and a trebling of 15-year-olds and we are not even collecting data to see has that rapid exponential rise levelled off at any point.”

Marcus Saxton, chief executive of the Totally Wicked Group and chair of the Independent British Vape Trade Association does not believe an outright ban is the best solution.

He said: “Any reputable retailer would not sell to under 18s today. They work tirelessly through age verification protocols within their online and physical stores, including third-party ‘mystery shops’ to ensure they remain compliant.

“As a result, the issue today lies within the illegitimate trade, which is considerable in size.

“Any retailer who is happy to purchase products on the black market is highly unlikely to put the necessary protocols in place around age verification. As a result, a ban would only serve to push the issue of youth access further into the hands of the black market.”

He also says that none of the leading brands use overly attractive products, and that the industry would be more than happy to adopt different naming conventions of flavours.