Cheshire and Merseyside public health officials have joined calls to outlaw disposable vape sales.

The announcement follows government pledges to crack down on firms targeting children with free vape samples and calls from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to implement a ban on disposable e-cigarettes.

The nine public health directors who are seeking action from the government are from the council areas of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Warrington and Wirral.

In a comment to BBC News, they voiced their concerns regarding the "negative impact vaping can have on health and wellbeing, especially amongst our children”.

"Over the years, the number of people smoking has reduced significantly.

"But as directors of public health, we must always be vigilant to any emerging trends that may impact this positive outcome.

"Disposable vapes also harm the environment by producing unnecessary plastic waste, with 1.3 million vapes being thrown away each week in the UK, and poorer quality vaping products readily available on the high street may have unidentified ingredients that have the potential to cause unknown harm."

While the group recognises that vapes can help cigarette smokers quit, they added that it was “unacceptable that colourful, covetable, plastic vapes are permeating children's lives and setting them up for a life-long dangerous smoking habit”.

The nine directors are calling for:

  • “A complete country-wide ban on the sale of disposable vapes.
  • “Additional restrictions and rules around the advertising and marketing of vapes.
  • “A significant increase in fines for retailers selling illicit vaping products and vapes to those aged under 18.
  • “An urgent response from the Department of Health and Social Care on when the promised £3m 'illicit vapes enforcement squad' will be formed.
  • “The introduction of a consultation around the regulation and licensing of vapes.
  • “Increasing the power and capacity of local Trading Standards teams to enforce new regulations and licensing.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said, “While vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults, it is illegal to sell nicotine vapes to children, and we are concerned about the recent rises in youth vaping - particularly the use of disposable vaping products.

“We launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products, exploring a range of issues, including the marketing and promotion of vapes. The call for evidence has now closed, and the government will be considering a range of options based on the evidence provided.

“We are also taking bold action to crack down on youth vaping through the £3m illicit vapes enforcement squad to tackle underage sales to children.”