Tobacco giant Imperial Brands is pushing ahead with the grocery retail rollout of a new, higher puff-count disposable vape, despite the government’s announcement last month the devices would be banned.
The launch of the 1,000-puff Blu Bar disposable – significantly higher than the 600-puff category average – came in response, Imperial said, to “continued consumer demand for disposable vapes” and was the “perfect solution to help retailers grow their vape sales even further in 2024”.
Disposable rival SKE, in contrast, has cancelled the planned launch of its “first eco-friendly” SKE Klax disposable product line. The device – which was to feature “100% biodegradable kraft paper and designed for easy disassembly where the batteries and pods can be efficiently recycled after use” – will now not be put on sale the company said.
Last month, the government announced plans to ban disposable vapes to tackle the rise of youth vaping. The ban, said Rishi Sunak, came in response to increasing numbers of underage vapers. “We must act before it becomes endemic,” he said.
Despite the ability for the government to ban the sale of disposable vapes immediately via secondary legislation, health secretary Victoria Atkins told the BBC she was confident the ban would come as part of a new bill that would pass parliament by the time of the general election – expected to be this year – with it coming into force in early 2025.
Until then, new disposable vape products are being approved for sale by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The Grocer analysis finds 64 new disposable products have been rubber-stamped by the agency since the ban was announced. Most, however, would have been submitted for approval before the government’s announcement.