UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Kent yesterday as he announced plans to crackdown on children using vapes.
He visited the Kent Scientific Services in Kings Hill, West Malling, to outline plans for a “hit squad” to prevent vapes being given to youngsters through a loophole. The Kings Hill laboratory is a leading testing unit for finding illegal vapes. He arrived at Kings Hill around 9am and was seen returning to London via the A20 near Sidcup just after 11am.
Ministers have pledged to close a loophole allowing retailers to give free samples of vapes to children in England, amid concerns over the proportion of children trying e-cigarettes. There will also be a review into banning retailers selling nicotine-free vapes to under-18s and the rules on issuing fines to shops that illegally sell vapes to children.
The Government has said that it wants to make it easier for trading standards officials to issue on-the-spot fines and fixed penalty notices.
The Prime Minister said 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”.
it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start vaping
He said “Our new illicit vape enforcement squad – backed by £3 million – is on the case but clearly there is more to do. That is why I am taking further action today to clamp down on rogue firms who unlawfully target our children with these products. The marketing and the illegal sales of vapes to children is completely unacceptable and I will do everything in my power to end this practice for good.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty called the decision to close the loophole a “very welcome step”.