Skip to content
The Case Against Banning Vape Flavours

The Case Against Banning Vape Flavours

In a marathon session that went on for nearly 8 hours, the House of Commons fiercely debated and then passed the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, thereby giving themselves the power to ban flavours. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.

At the heart of this debate was not just the health of our nation’s youth, but also the rights of adults to enjoy a variety of flavours in their vaping products in a bid to quit smoking - a subject that merits a balanced, thoughtful examination.

Protecting Youth While Supporting Adult Choices

The argument to protect the health of young people is compelling and necessary. However, this does not require stripping away the choices available to adults who have turned to vaping as a viable alternative to smoking. During the debate, many MPs directly accused the vaping industry of specifically targeting children. While some disreputable manufacturers and retailers have undoubtedly engaged in harmful practices, the notion that flavours such as ‘Mango Ice’ are designed solely to entice children is as ridiculous as suggesting that flavoured alcohol such as cocktails or raspberry gin are specifically aimed at underage drinkers.

These flavours are not merely indulgences; they are a huge part of what makes vaping an attractive and viable alternative to smoking. The vast majority of adults prefer fruit over tobacco flavours. At DarkStar, we sell a wide range of different vaping flavours, almost all of which are fruit or fruit-based - yet our average customer is well above the age of 30. People do not turn 18 and suddenly decide that they no longer enjoy the flavour of blueberries. At DarkStar, we fully support the ban on disposables - they’re something we have never supported and never will. Despite years of pressure from competition, we’ve never compromised our position.

Another point we think worth making is that children do not necessarily start vaping because of flavour choices. Two MPs (Dame Andrea Leadsom and Sir Jake Berry) admitted during the debate that they started smoking at 14 and the fact that it was illegal didn’t stop them. Peer pressure and the perception of being ‘cool’ is what has driven teenagers over the years to take up smoking, and it is logical to predict that the case would be the same for vaping even if flavour bans were introduced and effectively enforced.

Logic-based Regulation

We understand that having a ‘Vimto-Breeze’ e-liquid displayed right next to the sweet section in a convenience store is extremely bad practice, but this is a retail issue and the regulatory solution should be targeted as such. Why not solve that problem with licensing and fines? 

Thankfully during the debate, several MPs highlighted this potential. 

This approach suggests a sensible middle ground, ensuring that these products are sold responsibly without resorting to outright bans on flavours. One astute speech by James Grundy advocated for enforcing the revocation of all of an offending retailer’s licences (that is to say, including their alcohol and tobacco licences) as well as issuing a £10,000 fine. In our view, this is a practical approach and would provide a massive disincentive for retailers to sell vapes to children.

Over-Regulation and its Unintended Consequences

A heavy-handed ban on flavoured vapes may seem like a straightforward solution to prevent youth vaping; however, this overlooks several critical aspects. Such bans could push the market underground, leading to unregulated sales and potentially more dangerous products that haven’t been rigorously tested and approved by testing authorities.

The reality is that black market activities would inevitably be a problem - enforcement is already an issue under the TPD/TRPR framework, with many companies currently getting away with selling non-compliant products. Trading Standards Offices across the country are regional, and each of them seem to enforce differently. In some areas, egregious breaches of current regulations are simply ignored, while in other areas businesses are subject to far greater enforcement.

Furthermore, flavoured vapes are a significant reason that so many smokers have transitioned away from more harmful traditional cigarettes. The idea of forcing these individuals to use unflavoured or tobacco-flavoured products is a huge step back in public health progress. The government’s current approach of lumping vaping in with smoking risks creating a public fear of vaping, giving people the false idea that they are as harmful as each other, which is far from the truth. Education to ensure that people understand the benefits of vaping over smoking should be a priority.

Innovation and Adult Preferences

The debate also touched on the importance of innovation within the vaping industry. Banning flavours could stifle the development of products that can offer a more appealing alternative to smoking. It’s a crucial point, so we will reiterate: we must recognize that adults who vape overwhelmingly prefer fruit and other non-tobacco flavours, and these choices must be respected and preserved!

An Appeal for Sensible Policies

As the debate unfolded, it became clear that some MPs do understand the complexity of the issues. There was acknowledgement by some of the simultaneous need to prevent youth vaping while not unduly restricting adult smokers looking for a safer alternative. It’s about finding policies that respect personal freedom; for adults to choose their path in reducing harm from smoking.


The lengthy debate in Commons reflects a society wrestling with how best to balance public health with personal freedom. As the bill moves to the next stage, the conversation is far from over. We know that smoking is responsible for 80,000 deaths each year in the UK, it causes 1 in 4 cancer deaths and it results in a 10 year decrease in life expectancy. We’re not sure that a ban on smoking is the right way to move forward, but we are sure that replacing smoking with vaping works, and that flavours are crucial in this endeavour.

If you agree with this article and the idea of preserving flavour choices for adult vapers, please share this with any publication or website that can influence the outcome. After all, informed dialogue is the cornerstone of effective and balanced policy making!


Hansard: the Official Report of all Parliamentary Debates

The Department of Health and Social Care 

Angani Nankani, Bupa Clinics GP: BUPA

Previous article Sustainable Vaping Solutions for the Eco-Conscious
Next article Vaper's Tongue: What Is It And How To Avoid It?


Aimee - April 17, 2024

I’m so annoyed by this government’s decision to restrict flavours and completely agree with the argument regarding alcohol flavours. I am a fruit vaper and found tobacco flavours disgusting. Noone seems to question the effects of different flavours on health. Dr Michael Mosley did a BBC documentary about it and showed menthol killed more cells than pineapple flavour, where is the science behind the decision?

Jamie - April 17, 2024

I quit smoking on my birthday when I turned 24, now 32. I ran out of rizzlas and the nearest shop sold vapes (ego sticks) so thus began my journey.
I’ve been on 12mg down to 1.5mg
Tried 1000’s of flavours and 100’s of devices.
Then I was offered a 20mg disposable
From 1 a day I was the hitting 3 a day…
It was only with the help of my local vape shop I managed to transition back to a normal vape device and 10mg on my way to 5 my, again with a whole range of flavours filling the void of disposables.
The only thing the government need to ban is the manufacturer and sales of disposable vape.
They are very addictive
They are very damaging the environment
Some are unsafe.

Craig - April 17, 2024

Shared with local MP whom also enjoys a vape and is against the action of banning flavours but agrees with the ban of disposables as a means of getting kids away from vaping.

George - April 17, 2024

I stopped smoking over 10 years ago (smoked good 30 years), switched to vapes and never looked back.
Started with 18mg, then 12 and now I’m on 6. Happy with that ( in the “big clouds” device that I also have is 3mg)
Thanks to vaping never lit a cigarette again. Not once. And never will.

Jonathan - April 17, 2024

in my opinion all disposable vapes should be banned just on environmental issue alone i am 62 started smoking at age 10 and when i stopped was getting through 3 50g pouches of tobacco a week if i wasn’t smoking one i was rolling one i found it very hard to transition to vaping even using 20mg i was wearing nicotine patches at the same time. i am 3 weeks away from 6 years without smoking and am on 3 mg nicotine now but big clouds. i vape almost always desert flavours some fruits and that is what helps tobacco flavour makes you want to smoke but does help when changing to vaping . yes there are a lot of kids vaping but that’s better than them smoking but if you want to change this i think it has to be done with retailers when i was a kid shop keepers would sell us single cigarettes. i wish i had never started smoking. and shopkeepers who sell to under age should pay big fine and 3 strikes and your out no longer allowed to sell at all

Zubair Ahmed - April 17, 2024

I was smoking 50 a day at the age of 30 and was fed up of it. The only way I managed to quit was by turning to vaping. The vape scene was quite active back then and I learnt to create my own coils and mods etc. Even learnt ohms law in the process. I guess the tobacco lobby is feeling the pinch now. Just wish the nodding scene was still as active now as it was 8 or 10 years ago.

Guy - April 17, 2024

Let’s be real, tobacco companies are likely pushing for this exact thing.

Mark - April 17, 2024

This is an insightful commentary and vaping helped save my life as a life time smoker, I switched and have noticed health improvements. I am also an experienced mixer, I like fruits but I am a dessert specialist. I can’t figure out what criteria they will use to ban certain flavours e.g. custards, creams, cheesecake etc. They are not fruits? They obviously can’t ban VG/PG? And it is possible to create any fruit flavour in kitchen sinks, but this might increase harm. Seems like future for old school vapers will remain in the DIY field…

Fiifii - April 17, 2024

I think this is sounding like quite a fair debate I was very worried that the ban on fruity flavours would turn me back to smoking as the fruity flavours have been a major part of me stopping smoking after years of failed attempts I started smoking at 13 I’m now 32. I suffered with asthma all my life and I was on a high dose steroid inhaler when I decided to try vaping (2 years ago) I noticed quite quickly how much less I was needing my reliever inhaler and I’m now 1 year off all inhalers thanks to switching to vaping. I’m all for the ban on disposables as they are the ones that all the kids seem to want and have but I already see loads of imported disposables being sold that could have anything in them and I think the black market will keep the kids vaping because there are idiots out there that will use the ban to their advantage of making money from selling imported disposables to kids and also disposables are sooo high in nicotine I don’t think Most the kids realise how much nicotine they consume by using them. Anyway I’m feeling better after reading this article and will be sharing around ☺️

Andrew - April 17, 2024

Again total over reaction by government I totally agree that the disposables are the problem there bright colours and easy access are the problem and there not environmentaly friendly at all and just end on the ground most of them there is also the never ending plastic of theses things make then all green like cigarettes packaging that simple or ban them totally this is over reach by governments one more thing which is never discussed is the fact a lot of this is coming from the cigarette manufacturers if you look at all the anti vaping agenda you will see they are the ones behind this agenda to get more people smoking again to restrict vaping by killing flavours unless MPs wake up to this fact as well there is not much hope for the vaping industry cigarette manufacturers have been lobbying governments for years to keep people smoking if the NHS and British heart foundation and cancer charities say vaping is not as harmful as smoking then I believe there word more than a cigarette manufacturer in a perfect world no one would smoke or vape but the world is not perfect I was a smoker myself but I vape now me as an adult i prefer vaping any day we just need true sense from MPs and not an over reaction

Leave a comment

* Required fields