A warning over a rise in the illicit trade if the disposable vape ban comes into effect has been issued to the government.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) warned that the illicit trade could be boosted by as much as £645m if disposable vapes are banned next year as planned.

In consumer polling conducted by Yonder on behalf of the ACS, it was found that almost one in four (24%) will continue to use disposables after a ban is introduced. The only way they’ll be able to source those products is from illicit sources, resulting in a £645m annual loss to the convenience sector in turnover from disposables alone.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The way that the Government has gone about justifying its case for a ban on disposables is completely inadequate. The impact assessment gets basic figures wrong and attempts to sweep the already massive illicit market under the rug. What the Government is trying to avoid is a meaningful debate about enforcement and proper funding for Trading Standards to be able to stop rogue traders, because it knows that Trading Standards teams are already stretched to their limits and do not have the resources to keep up.

“Banning something does not mean it ceases to exist. If the Government were really committed to stopping children getting their hands on disposable vapes, then they would focus on cracking down on the illicit trade and enforcing the laws that already exist to prevent children from accessing these products.”

ACS is also encouraging retailers to contact their MPs to highlight concerns about the disposable vape ban and the impact that it will have on their business. A template email is available for retailers to utilise here: