People heading to Glastonbury festival this month have been urged by organisers not to bring disposable vapes to the event.
The electronic devices simulate tobacco smoking, run on lithium batteries and are not rechargeable, meaning they are single-use products. Some estimates suggest about 1.3m are thrown away each week in the UK.
The organisers of Glastonbury festival, which takes place from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 June at Worthy Farm in Somerset, have added disposable vapes to a list of items not to bring, which also includes knives, gazebos and non-biodegradable body glitter. Of disposable vapes, the website says: “They pollute the environment and can be hazardous at waste centers (sic).”
Industry experts said last month that disposable vapes were to blame for a dramatic rise in fires at recycling plants over the past year.
Recycling firms are dealing with so many vapes that they are struggling to insure their facilities. Some are using artificial intelligence to detect vapes and their lithium-ion batteries, as well as installing thermal imaging cameras and automatic foam jets.
On Friday the children’s commissioner for England said disposable vapes should be banned and others sold in plain packaging to curtail the “wild west market” in e-cigarettes, which was damaging young people.
Dame Rachel de Souza said she was worried that children felt under pressure to vape – including avoiding using school toilets where it was happening – and it was “insidious these products are intentionally marketed and promoted to children”.
Her comments echo those from England’s chief medical officer, Prof Sir Chris Whitty, who in February attacked the “appalling” marketing of vapes to children, saying it was clear some products were intended to appeal to underage youngsters.
This week the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health also called for a ban on disposable vapes. It said “youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic” and that e-cigarettes “are not a risk-free product and can be just as addictive, if not more so, than traditional cigarettes”.
There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes carry significant health risks. While they do not contain the dangerous tar of conventional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical with health risks.
Some studies suggest nicotine is associated with cardiac and neurological diseases and with negative effects on the brain development of children and young people.
Public health experts also worry that, compared with the use of gums and patches designed to wean people off smoking, vaping encourages long-term nicotine dependency.
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