If you have taken up vaping as a means of weaning yourself off cigarettes, you will be keen to make sure this is a successful quest. But that can mean having vapes available to you whenever you need them, lest the temptation to light up a cigarette becomes too much.
Many a person who has been trying to give up will succumb when they are in a social setting and a smoker offers them one. It’s hard to say ‘no’, but if you have some vapes handy, it can be a bit easier to do so. That, alongside the fact that they massively reduce the health consequences that can arise from smoking, is the key behind the use of vaping as a means of giving up.
Of course, you may want to get some vape juice and use refills. But for many, the attraction and convenience of single-use disposable vapes is obvious.
Single Use Vapes Under Fire
However, this kind of vaping device has come under more attack from the anti-vaping lobby than any other.
One of the reasons for this is the concern that single-use vapes can be acquired more easily by children than packs of multiple vapes, which is aiding an increase in illegal teenage vaping. It is this concern that recently led the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, to call for them to be banned.
Her call was rejected by the chair of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) John Dunne, on the logical basis that since it is unlawful to sell any vapes to children, the answer lies in more robust law enforcement, not making some types of vape illegal and others not.
However, there is another argument made against single-use disposable vaping products, which is about the environment. This contends that making them available leads to widespread littering, with lots of plastic waste that could end up either in landfill or leaking into the environment like other plastic waste – and that is when it is not simply making the streets look untidy.
A Green Challenge
Alongside that is the concern that this leads to the waste of the lithium batteries used to power the devices, which is squandering a precious commodity that will be vital as the motor industry transitions from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles. They also risk causing fires in waste facilities.
It is for these reasons that campaigners in Scotland such as climate activist Laura Young managed to persuade the Scottish government to consider a ban on disposable vapes. Speaking in support of the idea, circular economy minister Lorna Slater said declared them to be “bad for the environment”, citing litter and fire risks among the problems.
She added: “We will consider the evidence and expert advice and come forward with policy options, which could include a potential ban on single-use vapes.”
This could prove a more significant challenge to such products than that prompted by Dame Rachel de Souza, for one good reason: while enforcing the law properly can be more effective in preventing vapes from getting into the wrong hands to begin with, it is a lot harder to prevent those devices being discarded carelessly. After all, even spot fines only work when the offender is caught red-handed.
Step Forward The 99% Green Vape
However, a solution may be on the way. The UKVIA has revealed details of a pioneering new product that is 99.29 per cent recyclable. Created by a firm called ANDS, it is designed to be disassembled more easily, with just one per cent going to landfill.
Known as SLIX, it includes a cardboard casing that can be completely recycled, as well as a biodegradable silicone mouthpiece and end. Tests run by vape waste firm Waste Experts confirmed how close it was to being 100 per cent recyclable, a target ANDS hopes to reach in the next year.
It is 57 per cent faster to disassemble and weighs 25 per cent less than the current leading brand, which means it produces 70 per cent less waste by volume. The product also comes in eight different flavours.
Senior director of scientific and medical affairs at ANDS, Dr Martina Murply, said: “While the analysis carried out by Waste Experts suggests that our single-use vape is highly recyclable, we will continue to work towards zero waste.”
She added that the faster and more efficient recycling process helps keep waste management costs down, which in turn can enable products to be sold for less, a “win-win for the environment and adult consumers who value our products”.
An Obvious Solution
If you think this all sounds like obvious common sense, by creating more eco-friendly disposables instead of clumsily banning them, you won’t be alone.
Indeed, this is exactly the point made by Fadi Maayta, who said if there is a ban or new restrictions on single-use vapes “over environmental fears as is being talked about in some circles”, the result could be that “smokers could lose what many believe to be a very convenient, accessible and compelling alternative to conventional cigarettes.”
The fact that such a great new product has been created and may soon be even more renewable offers some huge advantages. After all, even discarded vapes on the street may be picked up and recycled (just as could happen with all sorts of recyclable items that get dropped instead of being binned).
It is also the case that recycling in the future could include bins for vapes, just as households are now used to having different bins for different kinds of refuse.
That will also help ensure that the batteries can be recovered, which not only reduces fire risks but means they can be recycled as the technology for refining and reusing lithium develops, amid growing investment from the motor industry.
The first major store to stock SLIX is yet to be named, but if it takes off it is likely that before long products like this will be found everywhere and maybe one day soon all vaping devices will be made this way, including those designed for multiple use (which will reach the end of their working life eventually).
Rather than finding new reasons to ban vapes, it may that be some critics should look at just what the industry is doing to tackle its most pressing issues. The open-minded could be pleasantly surprised.