Election candidates urged to back end of vape marketing aimed at young people

Scottish candidates in the upcoming General Election have been urged to back a campaign calling for the end of vape marketing targeting young people.

Speaking on the World Health Organisation’s No Tobacco Day, Ash Scotland and Asthma + Lung UK Scotland joined forces for a campaign against the marketing of flavoured, brightly coloured vapes.

As well as urging them to back their campaign, the charities have also pressed candidates not to speak to representatives of the tobacco industry either before or after the election.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said marketing tactics are “predatory”.

She added: “Tobacco industry promotions have lured young people into starting to use their addictive products for decades and, in recent years, the same is now happening with vapes.

“We’re urging General Election candidates to support our campaign to stop the targeting of marketing aimed at children and young people.”

Vaping products
Campaigners say bright colours and sweet flavours aim to attract children to vapes (PA)

Joseph Carter, the head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, said: “The high rates of youngsters vaping in Scotland is concerning.

“It is illegal to sell vapes to under-18s, and we strongly discourage non-smokers, especially children, from starting vaping.

“It is crucial the government takes action to prevent the vaping industry from marketing their products towards children.

“The power, influence and money the tobacco and vaping industry have at their disposal to market their products is vast and far reaching and we must continue to press the government to legislate against it and uphold the rules that are already in place.

“Our top priority is protecting the health of young people from the dangers of tobacco and preventing youngsters from starting to vape.”

The Scottish Government joined with the UK and Welsh governments earlier this year to announce a ban on disposable vapes from April 1 of next year.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP said: “The dramatic increase in the number of young people using vapes is deeply concerning and more must be done to stop them becoming addicted to nicotine.

“Which is why we would introduce a Vaping Restrictions Bill to update the law and bring it into line with the regulations on smoking.

“This would ban the use of vapes in public spaces and ensure they were stored behind counters in shops.

“We would also increase the fines for those who illegally sell vapes and tobacco to under-18s – a law that is currently being widely flouted and poorly enforced.”

Carol Mochan MSP, Scottish Labour spokeswoman for public health, said: “For too long we have seen vaping companies cashing in at the expense of children’s health.

“Children deserve the best possible start – their future well-being is more important than companies making a quick buck.

“As part of our vision for a smoke-free Scotland, Scottish Labour is committed to banning the sale of single-use vapes and stopping companies marketing them directly to children.”