Children, Vape Packaging, and the Shift Towards Responsible Marketing
Discover the impact of vape packaging on children, the lessons from history, and potential solutions to protect young people from underage vaping.
Newspaper giants the Guardian ran a story about the impact vape device packaging is having on children and young teens. With many disposable vape products exhibiting bright colours and attractive boxing, the UK consensus is that many of these devices are attractive to children – too attractive. This bright world of colours seems to invite the senses to taste it. This way, teens are becoming vape users, and that’s not what any of us want – vape sellers or not.
History Repeats Itself
The Smoking Epidemic and Packaging
We know from experience that allowing nicotine-containing products onto the shelves has done damage in the past. If we look back to the smoking epidemic of the 80s and 90s, we see that the same problem played out here, too. Cigarettes always went with a professional approach, however. Their packaging seemed to signal that they were somehow high-end. What those packages did was add to the number of teen smokers by pointing to their branding as ‘cool’. We all know cigarettes are not cool nowadays, and a big part of turning the youth away from smoking is down to two things: The availability of vape devices and the obliteration of cigarette packaging here in Britain.
Vaping Packaging and Medical Advice
England's Chief Medical Officer Weighs In
The Guardian turned to England’s chief medical officer, who says that marketing vapes towards younger uses was utterly unacceptable. With plans already in place to ban disposable vapes across Scotland, this announcement could mark the beginning of the end for brightly packaged vape supplies in England, too.
Professor Chris Whitty's Warning
Professor Chris Whitty brought the issue to the attention of the MPs, declaring that we do not know the consequences of vaping on teens minds and developmental growth.
The Difference Between Adult and Child Studies
Although government and cancer research studies all show that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, these studies are carried out on adults, not children. Since vaping among teens has doubled in the last year, the country needs a prompt response from leaders to nip this problem out, pardon the pun.
What’s The Solution?
Refillable, Pod, and Open Tank Devices
The solution is not an outright ban on vaping products altogether. If we examine packaging used to sell the refillable, pod, and open tank devices, we notice a huge difference. They are packaged to look lean, cool, and often minimalist. They display the product as it looks when it is in full working order. The problem, therefore, lies with disposable vape devices. To this, we would argue that an outright ban is not the answer. Rather, the government ought to look into how we can apply the same blacked-out marketing that they have applied to cigarettes and tobacco in the last few years.
Non-Nicotine Disposables: Where to Draw the Line?
The problem then becomes that some disposables do not contain nicotine. Where do we draw the line on the packaging aspects? What is clear is that the UK needs a government team to sit down and formulate a strategy that works for everyone, with a primary focus on keeping teens away from vaping.
What Can You Do to Help Solve the Problem?
Simple Steps to Make a Difference
What can regular adult vape users do to solve this problem? We can look out for vape manufacturers or shops we see selling vape devices to children and report them to Trading Standards. We can opt not to buy disposable vapes, turning instead to the less colourful reusable vape devices, which are both better for the environment and better for our children. We can even shop from reputable vape shops to avoid the potential for underhand sales.
It is not too late to make a change. A reusable vape and a beginner e-liquid or pod kit is all it will take to make a personal difference to the overall problem.
In conclusion, the issue of brightly coloured and attractive vape packaging targeting children and young teens is a growing concern. By learning from the past and implementing stricter regulations, we can help protect the younger generation from the harmful effects of vaping. It's crucial for the government to create a comprehensive strategy, and for individuals to make conscious choices when purchasing vape products.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the main concern with vape packaging? The main concern is that bright and attractive packaging of disposable vape devices is appealing to children and young teens, leading to an increase in underage vaping.
- How can we learn from the past to address this issue? By examining the smoking epidemic of the 80s and 90s, we can understand the influence of packaging and branding on youth behaviour and work to prevent history from repeating itself.
- What is the proposed solution to the problem of attractive vape packaging? One solution is to implement the same blacked-out marketing strategies that have been applied to cigarettes and tobacco, making the packaging less appealing to young people.
- How can individuals help solve this problem? Individuals can report companies selling vape devices to children, avoid purchasing disposable vapes, and support reputable vape shops that prioritize responsible sales practices.
- Are all disposable vape devices harmful to children? While some disposable vapes do not contain nicotine, the overall concern is about the appeal of the packaging and the potential consequences of vaping on children's minds and developmental growth.