DIRECTORS of public health in Cheshire and Merseyside have issued a plea for the sale of disposable vapes to be banned.

It comes in a joint letter by chiefs from Warrington, Halton, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, St Helens, Wirral, Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton.

They say that for some time now they have been concerned by the rapid growth of vaping and the negative impact this can have on health and wellbeing, especially among children.

While they say vaping has helped people to stop smoking, the long-term effects of regular vaping are not yet known.

In the short term, using vapes can cause coughing, headaches, dizziness and sore throats, while some also contain nicotine, which is incredibly addictive, and is why they should only be used as a tool to stop smoking.

Disposable vapes also harm the environment by producing unnecessary plastic waste, with 1.3million vapes being thrown away each week in the UK.

The letter reads: “Our greatest concern is the impact that vaping is having on our children.

“Let us be clear, we understand that vapes can help people stop smoking, but it is unacceptable that colourful, covetable, plastic vapes are permeating children’s lives and setting them up for a life-long dangerous smoking habit.

“We find the attempt to make vapes ‘cool’ among children disgraceful.

“We have no doubt that aggressive marketing and advertising strategies from tobacco companies, like offering a variety of enticing flavourings and colours, are to blame.

“We are also acutely aware of many companies shamelessly exploiting legal loopholes in order to give away free vapes to children, which is currently not considered to be ‘marketing’.

“This activity needs to stop, so that our young people can grow up to live longer and healthier lives, protected from harm.”

As a group, the nine directors of public health in Cheshire and Merseyside are calling for a complete country-wide ban on the sale of disposable vapes.

They also want additional restrictions and rules around the advertising and marketing of vapes, including around design and flavours, so that it can be promoted only as a smoking cessation tool for adults.

Their call is for a significant increase in fines for retailers selling illicit vaping products and vapes to those aged under 18, as well as an urgent response from the Department of Health on when the promised £3million ‘illicit vapes enforcement squad’ will be formed.

Another aim is to increase the power and capacity of local trading standards teams to enforce new regulations and licensing.

The letter adds: “These simple measures, many of which were recommended a year ago in the ‘making smoking obsolete’ report, will save lives and ensure we provide the best start in life for our children.

“Finally, we also encourage parents and carers to proactively speak to their children about the use of vapes and explain the risks and dangers associated with them.”