Under growing concern about their impact on the environment and their popularity among young people, local councils in England and Wales are calling for a ban on disposable vapes, the Gazette asked their readers on social media if they agree.

The surge in popularity for such items, specifically for Chinese brands like Elfbar and Lost Mary, is causing alarm due to their appeal to under-age users, the significant litter problems they create, and their potential fire risk. The Local Government Association (LGA) suggests that an astounding 1.3 million vapes are discarded each week, pushing for their prohibition by 2024.

Local litter-picking legend and “binfluencer” Sandra Brown, voiced her concerns about the so-called disposable vapes whose consumption has sky-rocketed, particularly among young people. She drew attention to the fact that these items, initially intended as refillable alternatives to conventional cigarettes, have morphed into single-use electronic items littering the streets. These items, containing a lithium battery, are far from easily recyclable and pose a disposal challenge for consumers.

She said: “I’m generally not a fan of banning things, however the market for so called disposable vapes has grown to a scary level, and sadly they have become widely used by young people, even worse a significant number of which are under 18.

“Vapes were originally designed as a re-fillable alternative version of an e-cigarette, but some how the market has shifted from the original re-fill to disposable which to be fair are far from easily recyclable, and are more correctly described as a ‘single use electronic item which we all know is not great for our environment. The fact that they shouldn’t be binned - at home or in street bins - or put in your home recycling bin either, and as far as I can see very few shops that sell them have a return bin, leaving users with a disposal nightmare. Nothing these days should be designed without a clear recycling or disposal route.

“At the very least disposable vapes should be sold in a similar way to cigarettes, hidden behind screens, plain packaging, and cost equivalent based on nicotine levels to cigarettes - re-enforcing their negative health impact, and removing the temptation from our children - and any business that sells them should have a return scheme, which would hopefully reduce the littering issue; plus also much harsher fines for any business selling to under 18s."

She added: “I am really struggling to see any plus points for the so called disposable vapes, so I would support a ban.”

Despite these concerns, the UK Vaping Industry Association maintains that disposable vapes have contributed to reducing smoking rates to an all-time low in the UK due to their low price, accessibility, and simplicity of use.

However, there is apprehension that a blanket ban could instigate a flood of potentially hazardous black-market products into the UK. Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, warns that while vaping was initially seen as a less harmful alternative to tobacco, a problem lies in the unchecked and exploitative marketing.