A CONCERNED councillor has called for a clampdown on the sale of disposable vapes after a rise in youngsters who have never smoked before now taking up the habit.

The leader of Harlow Council’s Green group, Yasmin Gregory, raised her concerns at a council meeting.

Ms Gregory asked: “Whilst there is a questionable debate over whether vaping does assist with the cessation of smoking, do you feel it is appropriate that a chemist has posters on their front windows advertising the selling of vapes on their premises, and does the council have the authority to stop the sale of such products?”

In response, Nicky Purse, the Tory councillor responsible for environment and sustainability, confirmed Harlow Council “has no powers to prevent any premises from selling, or advertising the sale of vaping equipment”.

“The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the competent authority,” she explained.

“Underage sale should be raised with Essex Trading Standards.”

Ms Purse committed to discussing concerns over the recycling of disposable vapes after Ms Gregory raised further concerns.

“I will be speaking to trading standards,” the Green leader added.

“What is worrying is that more children who have never smoked are starting to vape and we’ve got a problem that single use vapes are designed as one unit, so the batteries can’t be separated from the plastic, making them impossible to recycle.”

Action from councillors comes after the Government laid out its plans to phase out the sale of cigarettes and introduce tighter restrictions on vaping to protect children.

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill will restrict the sale of tobacco so that anyone turning 14 this year or younger will never legally be sold cigarettes.

In a speech to Parliament last week, the King said the Government would “introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco … and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children”.

This will effectively raise the age of tobacco sale by one year every year, the Government said, to prevent this and future generations from ever taking up smoking in the first place.