The Government is set to tackle a major crackdown on the vape market in a bid to prevent the “unacceptable” targeting of children and young people, Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has said.

It comes as ministers have pledged to close all loopholes that allow retailers to give free samples of vaping products to children across England. 

Ahead of the crackdown, the PM took to ITV's Good Morning Britain to share his concern about his own daughters potentially being targeted by vape marketing.

As he shared he was “deeply concerned” about an increase in children vaping and was “shocked by reports of illicit vapes containing lead getting into the hands of schoolchildren”.

But now, the Government has said it will be reviewing vaping products aimed at children as well as a review into banning retailers selling “nicotine-free” vapes to under-18s.

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Government to crackdown on vaping products aimed at Children

Along with reviewing of advertising and nicotine-free products, ministers will also review the rules on issuing fines to shops that illegally sell vapes to children.

The changes come as NHS figures from 2021 showed that 9% of 11-15-year-olds used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018.

Speaking of the review, Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty called the decision to close the loophole a “very welcome step”.

Sharing: "Whilst vaping can be an effective quitting tool for smokers, it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start vaping.

Adding that there has "been a particularly worrying rise in the number of children using vapes, with companies clearly marketing these products at children using colours, flavours and cheap disposable options.

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“Closing the loophole that allows companies to give out free samples of vaping products to under-18s is a very welcome step in tackling some of the harms caused by the vaping industry.

“We should continue to encourage smokers to swap to vaping as the lesser risk, whilst preventing the marketing and sale of vapes to children.”

The crackdown will also see the health risks of vaping included in Relationships, Sex and Health Education lessons, as part of the ongoing government review of the curriculum.

Ministers' review has also been welcomed by figures in the vaping industry as Joe Murillo, the chief regulatory officer of Juul Labs, said: “Vapes have a role to play in helping adult smokers transition away from cigarettes, but more needs to be done to combat underage use of these products.

“We believe that Government, regulators, and industry can collectively take action to reduce the access and appeal of vaping to those underage, including by restricting the sale and marketing of vapes to this group.”