Skip to content
Glasgow City Council

Glasgow Academic Backs Ban on Single Use Vapes


Published 27/6/23

David Webster NIV large Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

A Glasgow academic who has collected dozens of single-use vapes discarded near his home today backed calls for a ban on their sale.

David Webster, a Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteer, carries out regular litter picks in Cathcart while out walking and running. He has collected several dozen disposable vapes and their packaging during his regular clean-ups in the street and nearby Linn Park.

David, a researcher at Glasgow University, is concerned about the impact of vapes on the health of young people as well as the environmental impact.

The Cathcart resident, said: "I would be in favour of banning disposable vapes. They are addictive and deliberately marketed at young people with sweet fruit flavours which is an absolute disgrace. The plastic is not biodegradable and is harmful to the environment. The batteries in vapes are also a fire risk if disposed of in household bins and they also contain lithium which is a valuable resource and should be reclaimed. I'm seeing more and more vapes dropped in the streets when I'm out for my walks."

Keen amateur pianist, David, keeps the vapes he collects separate to the other the litter and takes them to Polmadie recycling centre for safe disposal.

Glasgow has over 550 Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteers (NIVs) who carry out regular litter picks in their neighbourhoods with support from the council.

David has been a NIV for almost 15 years said: "Doing something proactive about litter in my area contributes to a positive mental attitude. Instead of feeling annoyed by litter I get a sense of satisfaction.

"Obviously, it would be better if people didn't drop litter - I think that is mostly due to laziness - but seeing the difference in the street after I've been out is rewarding. I think more people should adopt a small area close to them and uplift litter when out for a walk. If we all picked up a bit of litter when we passed it, there would be a real improvement."

In March, Glasgow's Environment and Liveable Neighbourhoods Committee wrote to the Scottish Government to back calls for the introduction of new legislation banning the sale of single use vapes due to concerns about the future health of the city's young people and the rising environmental impact of littering.

Councillor Elaine McSporran, Chair of the committee, said: "I have grave concerns about single use vapes, both in relation to their environmental impact and the impact on people's health in years to come.

"We are seeing more and more disposable vapes littering our streets and green spaces, because people are just dropping them when they are empty. They are made of plastic which, as we know, takes decades to degrade and can end up in our rivers and oceans where it is a threat to wildlife and can get into the food chain. They are also powered by lithium batteries which contain corrosive and flammable chemicals.

"Their apparent marketing towards younger people with sweet flavours and brightly coloured packaging is another concern as more and more young people seem to be using them.

"I wholeheartedly support the introduction of a ban on their sale and urge the Scottish Government to act now to avert a dual disaster in the future."

The Scottish Government is currently conducting a review of single-use vapes which includes consideration of a ban. The review is led by Zero Waste Scotland.

Vapes should not be put into household rubbish bins as the batteries pose a fire risk. Separate bins are provided for safe disposal at Glasgow City Council's recycling centres.

Glasgow has a network of around 88 Community Litter Picking Hubs across the city where people can borrow litter picking equipment for free. You can find the hub nearest to you by clicking on our interactive  MAP LINK


Published 27/6/23

Share this page:

A to Z:

Council Services