Dundee vape crusader Laura Young to help draft new ban

A ban on the sale of single-use vapes from April next year is being developed alongside Dundee-based campaigner Laura Young.

The 27-year-old led calls for the devices to be outlawed after growing concerned about their impact on young people and the environment.

Alongside her PhD at the University of Dundee, Laura is part of the group working to develop new legislation around the ban.

The Scottish Government is working alongside the UK and Welsh governments to bring the law into force simultaneously across Britain.

Laura wants to ensure the legislation avoids any unintended consequences.

Laura started her campaign after seeing how many disposable vapes blighted the local community. Image: Laura Young.

Known as Less Waste Laura on social media, the environmental scientist started her campaign in September 2022 after her dog emerged from bushes carrying a disposable vape in his mouth.

Laura, who was named Scottish Influencer of the Year last week in recognition of her campaign, will work with a small group to advise ministers as they build the new law.

She said: “It’s about shaping what new legislation looks like, closing any loopholes, and assessing the consequences and how we can resolve them.

“It’s also about asking how we can battle youth vaping – we don’t want to see other products popping up.

‘We don’t want vape ban to prompt whack-a-mole’

“We don’t want it to turn into whack-a-mole, when we get rid of one problem then another one pops up.

“I took this up as an environmental issue, how it can impact on climate change and plastic pollution, and it achieved environmental support.

“But it’s not just a litter problem, there’s also the health aspect and the high risks around kids using them. There are so many issues around them, it was clear what I needed to do.”

The Scottish Government have also emphasised the health risks, with a recent survey revealed one in five young people have used a vape at least once in their lifetime.

In a statement to MSPs on Tuesday, public health minister Jenni Minto said that while there has been a reduction in smoking, there has been a “notable increase” in young people using vapes.

The minister added: “Though vape products are one of a range of tools that can be used to support smoking cessation, they should never be used by young people or adult non-smokers.

“The long term harms of these products are unknown, and we must remain cautious even if recent evidence shows their effectiveness as a cessation tool.”

Laura Young’s PhD, which is jointly supervised by Dundee and Abertay universities, investigates the links between climate resilience, nature-based solutions, and community engagement. She has been conducting research in parallel with her vape campaign.

She believes community action and local voices are crucial in tackling climate change and is now gathering opinions of Scottish students – who can take part in her online survey.

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