UK Disposable Ban: Definition and Penalty Details Disclosed

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UK Disposable Ban: Definition and Penalty Details Disclosed
UK government plans to ban disposable e-cigarettes starting in April 2025, with penalties up to £200 for violators.

According to a draft regulation introduced by the UK government on March 11, 2024, disposable e-cigarettes will be banned across the UK starting in April 2025. Any retailer found in violation of this regulation will face a £200 fine and potential imprisonment. Once the regulation comes into effect, retailers caught selling disposable e-cigarettes will either be subject to a fixed penalty or receive a compliance/stop-sale notice to ensure they cease selling these products.


Any business that does not comply with the enforcement notice may face further fines or imprisonment. Enforcement officers will also have the power to enter stores, take photos, and seize suspected contraband items. This document is currently in the draft stage, which means that the relevant regulations may still change.


This regulation also provides a definition for disposable e-cigarettes.


  • A disposable e-cigarette refers to an e-cigarette that is designed to not be reused, including any (a) non-refillable, (b) non-rechargeable, or (c) non-refillable and non-rechargeable e-cigarette. 


  • In this regulation, an e-cigarette is considered non-refillable unless its design includes either (a) replaceable disposable containers that can be obtained separately, or (b) refillable containers. 


  • This includes coils that cannot be replaced by individual users during normal use, as well as any coils contained in disposable cigarette boxes or pipes that cannot be provided separately or replaced. 


The government also released an impact report predicting how this ban will affect profits for the entire retail industry. It is estimated that the losses in 2025 and 2026 will reach £648 million and £761 million respectively.


This figure was derived by multiplying the average price of disposable e-cigarettes by the projected annual sales volume. This number was then multiplied by 24%, which is the estimated profit margin, based on data from annual business surveys. However, this draft has faced criticism from the ACS.


The CEO of ACS, James Lowman, stated:


The idea that the government ban on disposable e-cigarettes will simply make them disappear is extremely naive. There are many fundamental issues with the impact assessment, the most significant being a serious underestimation of the financial impact on retailers of the ban on disposable e-cigarettes. Calculating the profit loss from the ban on disposable products using overall retail turnover completely misunderstands this category.


In both regulations and impact assessments, there is nothing to deter criminals and unlicensed vendors. They will continue to operate with impunity. Pretending that such measures can curb illegal transactions is nothing but a policy fantasy.


The government is continuing to accept comments and viewpoints on the draft proposal until March 25th.


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