Belfast City Council Advocates Stricter Measures in Response to UK-wide Vaping Consultation

Belfast City Council has actively responded to the ‘Smokefree Generation’ consultation, a UK-wide initiative on vaping and tobacco proposed by the Department of Health and Social Care in collaboration with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. In a bid to address concerns surrounding youth vaping and tobacco use, the council has put forward comprehensive recommendations aimed at tightening regulations.

One significant proposal from Belfast City Council suggests that vaping products should only be sold from behind the counter, and the available flavors should be deliberately “unattractive.” The move aligns with the broader UK consultation, which outlines various restrictions on the sale of tobacco and vaping products, including a proposed nationwide ban on disposable vape products.

This response comes as part of Belfast City Council’s commitment to reviewing and strengthening existing legislation. In April 2023, the council established a working group in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Department of Health, the Public Health Agency, and the PSNI to explore measures that could enhance enforcement, potentially including a ban on disposable vape sales.

To tackle the issue of underage vaping, the council has already implemented a ban on the use of vapes by individuals under the age of 18 on all council sites. In its response to the consultation, the council emphasizes the importance of introducing mandatory age identification checks alongside the proposed legislation. The aim is to ensure retailers adopt a strict “no ID, no sale” policy, preventing individuals born on or after January 1, 2009, from purchasing vaping products.

Furthermore, the council recommends specifying acceptable forms of identification and enhancing online age verification processes to curb underage sales of both tobacco and vaping products online. These measures reflect the council’s commitment to fostering a smoke-free generation and addressing the growing concerns associated with youth vaping. As the British government contemplates legislation that could make it an offence to sell tobacco products to individuals born on or after January 1, 2009, Belfast City Council’s proactive stance underscores the importance of stringent regulations to protect the health and well-being of the younger population.

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