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Superdrug quits disposable vape market over environmental concerns

The pharmacy chain will no longer sell single-use vapes but will continue to offer refillable varieties, it told C+D. 

Superdrug announced on Friday (September 22) that its UK and Ireland stores are “exiting the single-use vape market”.

The pharmacy multiple told C+D today (September 25) that it will no longer purchase disposable vape products and is now selling of the rest of its stock, which includes Vuse GO and Flavaah bar vapes.

Superdrug first started selling vapes in-store in 2015 and sells 1,300 disposable vapes per week on average, it said.

The chain confirmed to C+D that it will still sell “closed system” refillable vapes, as these have a lower impact on the environment because the pen can be recharged and reused with a new pod.


“Alarming for the environment”


Superdrug executives stressed that the environmental impact of single-use vapes was largely behind the decision to exit the market.

Lucy Morton-Channon, Superdrug’s head of ESG, said she was “pleased that [the multiple has] decided to remove them from all stores”, given that the rate consumers are “using” and “discarding [single-use vapes] is worrying and alarming for the environment”.

“Many of these single-use vapes contain lithium batteries” and “end up in landfill” leading “to a risk of fires”, she added.

“The lasting effects that single-use vapes are having on the environment needs to be addressed”, she said.

Superdrug healthcare director Ghada Beal added that the multiple “[needs] to be responsible about the growing trend in disposable vapes among young people and the lasting effect on the environment”.

Ms Beal also said that it was the multiple’s “responsibility…to provide the best choice for consumers who want alternatives to cigarettes whether that’s smoking cessation products or vaping options”.

Superdrug said that customers should “visit a Superdrug store and speak to a team member” to access “a range of products to help people quit smoking or cut back on their nicotine intake”.


Vape cessation services?  


The announcement comes just before the start of Stoptober, the NHS’s annual campaign to encourage people to quit smoking.

And last week, think tanks the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust released their “vision” for community pharmacy, which recommended that pharmacies provide smoking cessation advice and support for vapes as well as tobacco products.

Meanwhile, tobacco giant Philip Morris Inc’s sponsorship of next month’s industry showcase the Pharmacy Show has been withdrawn after pharmacists objected to the presence of the cigarette manufacturer at a healthcare conference.

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