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ACS said government must focus on effective enforcement 

Illicit trade will gain a £645m boost if disposable vapes are banned next year, the ACS has warned.

The trade body said the potential ban, expected for 1 April 2025, would add to the “significant” illicit trade that already existed, with 24% of vape users saying they would continue to use disposables after a ban was introduced, according to its research with Yonder.

ACS said the government must focus on effective enforcement to prevent “rogue traders”.

Its call comes as the government published regulations outlining plans to ban disposable vapes earlier this month, alongside an impact assessment that “significantly underestimated the losses that will be felt by retailers”, the trady body added.

The submission also lacked clarity over the definition of a disposable vape, which government has acknowledged requires more discussion. With 12 months to go until a ban is scheduled to come into force, ACS said it was “worrying that government does not entirely know what it wants to ban”.

“The way that the government has gone about justifying its case for a ban on disposables is completely inadequate,” said ACS CEO James Lowman.

“The impact assessment gets basic figures wrong and attempts to sweep the already massive illicit market under the rug. What the government is trying to avoid is a meaningful debate about enforcement and proper funding for Trading Standards to be able to stop rogue traders, because it knows that Trading Standards teams are already stretched to their limits and do not have the resources to keep up.

“Banning something does not mean it ceases to exist. If the government were really committed to stopping children getting their hands on disposable vapes, then they would focus on cracking down on the illicit trade and enforcing the laws that already exist to prevent children from accessing these products.”