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The vaping industry has blasted Waitrose and accused it of “woke hypocrisy” after the supermarket announced it would ban the sale of disposable vapes. The high end supermarket chain has expressed concern about the amount of waste created by disposable vapes, as well as the number of young people using them.
However, the boss of Vaping.com said that if Waitrose really wanted to protect people and the environment, they would stop selling cigarettes altogether.
The grocery chain said it was motivated by “doing the right thing” and added that the growth of vaping was being “fuelled by the popularity among those who haven’t previously smoked”.
Over four million Brits now regularly vape, but Vaping.com joint chief executive Neil McLaren highlighted that the oceans are now polluted by 4.5 trillion cigarette butts.
He said: “Waitrose will be happy with some cheap headlines following their decision to stop selling disposable vapes.
“But the virtue-signalling move reeks of hypocrisy since they’re happy to keep selling cigarettes.
“The supermarket should take cigarettes — the most littered item on the planet — off the shelves instead of carping on about vapes.
“If they stop selling cigarettes then they can make a real difference to public health and the planet.
“But if all they want is cheap headlines, then woke commentary from the PR department seems to do the job.”
Vaping.com claimed that its aim is to create a “smoke-free society”, with the habit considered to be much less dangerous than smoking.
However, there has been a sharp rise in vape use amongst children, even though the sale of vapes to those under 18 is prohibited.
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Action on Smoking and Health said the proportion of young people aged 16 to 18 who say they use e-cigarettes has doubled over the past year.
The Office for National Statistics said last month that the number of smokers in the UK has fallen to the lowest on record, in part thanks to the popularity of vapes.
Waitrose claimed it provided advice and alternatives to help smokers quit, saying: “Single-use vapes create unnecessary plastic and lithium waste.
“While sales of cigarettes have fallen significantly in recent years, the market for disposable vapes is new and growing rapidly — including among young non-smokers. It’s not something we want to be part of.”
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