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Tobacco and Vapes Bill: what does it mean for you?

Tobacco and Vapes Bill: what does it mean for you?

John Boughey |

Last fact-checked 3 June 2024

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill will now not become law. Rishi Sunak has dissolved parliament, so we have to wait and see what anti-smoking legislation the next government will propose.  

In this guide, we’ll give you a vaper-friendly explanation of what rules were meant to change and why. We’ll also give you some pointers on how — and when — to prepare for the new rules. 

What’s in the bill?

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill covered a lot of ground. There were rules in here that could have affected the sale and consumption of all tobacco products (everything from cigars to heated tobacco) and all e-cigarettes for generations to come. Almost everything in the bill was built around creating a smokefree generation and keeping children safe from harm. 

The full text of the bill is on the parliament website here, but there is also a good summary of the bill on here. It’s heavy stuff (we had to re-read it a few times) so we’ve summarised the main points below.

Smokefree generation

First off, anyone born after 2009 would have never been able to legally buy cigarettes. This is all part of the UK’s Stopping the Start plans, which we explained in this recent article. The goal of this law was to prevent young people from ever being able to walk into a shop and legally buy a pack of cigarettes. As vaping retailers who have dedicated our lives to helping people quit smoking, we were impressed by this new rule ... and very unimpressed when the government effectively binned the whole project by dissolving parliament in May 2024.

A framework to govern vaping

This bill doesn’t list any specific flavours or packaging styles. Instead, it would have given the governments of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland new powers to control these things. The Secretary of State would have had the ultimate say over whether certain flavours or designs get banned.

Vape flavours

The government would have had the power to outlaw vape flavours. In the factsheets supporting this bill, the old government noted that certain fruit flavours are preferred by underage vapers. Rishi Sunak's government also stated that “regulating flavours has the potential to significantly reduce youth vaping” (source: The government also noted that there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate adult vapers who need to be considered.  

Vape displays in shops

If, like most of our customers, you buy your vape juice and hardware online, this rule wouldn't have affected you … but it was one of the most important rules in the whole bill. 

The factsheets supporting this bill say “It is unacceptable that children can see and pick up [vape] products in retail settings easily due to them being displayed within aisles, close to sweets and confectionery products and on accessible shelves” (source: We couldn’t agree more. Walk into any corner shop or petrol station in our country today and you’ll find vapes displayed by the front door, beside the sweets or at eye level for kids and teens. This has to change.

With this bill, the government could have controlled where and how vapes can be displayed within shops. This would have been a really positive change that could have stopped kids and non-smokers from being tempted by a product that isn’t designed for them. It might also have made it harder for shoplifters to steal vapes, which in turn would have made it harder for underage kids to get their hands on them. 

Vape packaging

The Tobacco & Vapes bill would have given the government new powers to regulate vape packaging (source: There is research to suggest that the vivid packaging on most vape products could be attracting kids (source:, so it’s important that the government have the power to get involved here.

Personally, we love the variety, cheek and charm of vape brand packaging, but if it’s encouraging underage vaping, then it needs to change. The drinks industry already has rules about bright colours and cartoonish designs on bottles & cans (see our recent Portman Group explainer), so we wouldn’t have been too shocked if most vape products had had to undergo a bit of a rebrand. Right now, it's business as usual.

No free vape samples to kids

At the moment, there’s a loophole in the law that allows nicotine-free vape samples to be given out for free to under-18s. This loophole would have been closed if this bill had become law. It would have become an offence to give away a vape (or a coupon for a vape) to anyone under the age of 18. 

We need urgent change here. The next government must close the free sample loophole as soon as possible. Vapes are less harmful than cigarettes, but they’re not harm-free (source: Children should never use vapes, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or not. There should be no way for unscrupulous retailers to market vapes to underage kids.

Disposables disappear in April 2025

Disposables aren’t mentioned in this bill, simply because the government was already going to use existing environmental protection laws to ban them (source: The disposables ban might not go ahead on 1st April 2025. We have been in touch with a number of government departments about this. As soon as we know, you'll know.

Will this bill become law?

3 June update: this bill will not become law. It failed to reach Royal Assent before parliament was dissolved and is now a fallen bill.

When we first wrote this post back in April, we were almost certain that the Tobacco and Vapes Bill would become law, because it had just made it through the second reading. Typically, a bill’s chances of becoming law start out at around 20%, but if a bill passes the second reading stage, its odds of becoming law jump to 95% or higher. 

For instance, in the 2019-2021 parliamentary session, 237 bills were put forward in the House of Commons. Only 54 bills made it past the second reading stage, and 52 of these became law (source: The 2021-2022 parliamentary session was very similar: Out of 248 bills, 44 made it past the second reading, and 43 became law.

This bill was meant to be the biggest law to impact vapers in years ... and almost everything in the bill was positive for our industry. It was a well-thought-out bill that sought to rescue more people from tobacco addiction and protect children. It was the result of years of public consultation and careful academic research, and it had the potential to position the UK as world-leaders in the fight against smoking. Our only hope now is that the next government gets something similar back onto the national agenda. 

Here at Gourmet E-Liquid, it’s business as usual. While Westminster downs tools and rearranges itself, we plan on serving our customers the very best vaping products, at the very best prices, in the fastest possible time, for as long as we possibly can. 

Stay safe and happy vaping!

John Boughey

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