Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to stop selling single-use vaping products in every one of its stores.
The supermarket said the move had been made due to reports suggesting the market growth for vaping is being fuelled by those who haven’t previously smoked cigarettes before.
The products Waitrose has removed from its shelves are vapes which contained lithium and were previously sold under the Ten Motives Label.
Waitrose is the first UK supermarket to stop selling single-use vapes and no other rival grocer has yet announced or hinted that it would follow suit.
A report by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) released last September found around 8.3% of adults in England, Wales and Scotland vape. This is up from the 1.7% it had recorded ten years ago.
The anti-smoking group said the number of vapers a decade ago sat at around 800,000. However, it now estimates that there are currently 4.3 million people using e-cigarettes - which were first created in 2004.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, meaning the most harmful aspects of smoking, tar and carbon monoxide, are not created. But they do still contain nicotine which is the highly addictive ingredient in cigarettes making them very hard to quit.
‘We are a retailer driven by doing the right thing’
In a statement released by the supermarket, Charlotte Di Cello Waitrose’s commercial director said that the selling of single-use vapes is “not something we could justify given the impact on both the environment and the health of young people.”
She added: “We are a retailer driven by doing the right thing. We had already decided it wasn’t right to stock the fashionable bright-coloured devices which are seeing rapid growth – so this decision is the final jigsaw piece in our clear decision not to be part of the single-use vaping market.”
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) previously said vaping devices such as e-cigarettes had played a significant role in reducing the prevalence of tobacco smoking across the UK.
Last month, the ONS estimated that in 2021 there were around 6.6 million smokers in the UK - around 13.3% across the UK and 13% in England. Whereas in 2020, 14.0% of people across the UK smoked and 13.8% were smokers in England.