A ban on single-use vapes will create a larger black market economy, according to industry experts.

The warnings came following an announcement by Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf that the government would examine the sale of single use vapes, with the potential for an outright ban. The Scottish government is to consult on the issue however the proposals have attracted criticism from the sector.

Responding to the proposals by First Minister Yousaf, a spokesperson for the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) told Convenience Store that a ban is not the right approach to the problem.

“It is critical we take action to protect the environment, but outlawing one of the most popular and convenient alternatives to combustible tobacco would increase smoking rates, especially among low-income vapers who rely on affordable disposables as an initial step away from cigarettes.

“Further, it is well understood that prohibition is ineffective and a ban on disposables risks creating a thriving black market beyond government control. Instead, there should be a focus on better infrastructure for recycling single-use vapes and better education on the recycling of these products for consumers.”

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) also warned of a rise in the black market should the ban go ahead.

The Fed’s president in Scotland Hussan Lal said: “Banning disposable vapes will simply expand an already booming illicit market. Vapes help many give up smoking and are part of life now. I am confident the black market will become even more active. These illicit products are already on sale at car boot sales, mobile phone shops, cafes and tanning salons as well as via the internet and by dealers delivering direct to homes.

“Rather than looking to ban single use vapes, the government should be looking at responsible ways of recycling them and more educational campaigns.”