Tightening rules on advertising and promoting vaping products

Closed 29 Apr 2022

Opened 3 Feb 2022


Vaping products (electronic cigarettes) have become popular over the past decade as an alternative to smoking tobacco. While current evidence shows that vapes are less harmful than smoking tobacco, they are not harm-free and we do not know what damage they could cause to human health in the long-term.

Lots of studies have looked into the question of whether vapes can damage human health after long-term use. Some have found they are relatively safe while others have found using these products can damage lungs in similar ways to smoking tobacco. The flavourings in vape liquids have been cleared as safe products, but they are only known to be safe when eaten. It is not clear how safe they really are when breathed into the lungs or what that could do to the body over time.

Opinion is divided among scientists, health professionals and governments on whether vapes are a good or bad product in terms of human health. Different approaches have been taken around their use with some countries banning vape products altogether and others promoting their use as an alternative to smoking tobacco. 

The Scottish Government has taken a cautious approach to vapes and think they are a helpful tool for people who still use tobacco to stop smoking and move onto a product which is known to be less harmful - at least in the short term. But most vapes and electronic cigarettes contain nicotine which his highly addictive. Non-smokers, particularly young people, should not take up vaping to prevent becoming addicted to nicotine. Vape products should only be used as a way to stop smoking tobacco and people should aim to use vapes for a short time. 

This consultation asks for views on whether the Scottish Government should bring in new rules to limit the way vape products can be advertised and promoted. Vapes should be thought of as a stop-smoking aid to help people quit an addiction known to be very damaging to health. These products should not be promoted for general use.   

Read the consultation paper.

Why your views matter

The Scottish Government is committed to protecting the health of all those living in this country and to prevent new health problems in the future. As we do not have the evidence needed to show what the long-term impact of vaping will have on the human body we would like to see vapes used only as a stop-smoking tool. 

Limiting how vape products are marketed and promoted could help ensure that people don't try vaping and get addicted to nicotine, potentially causing long-term damage to their health. Your views on whether these restrictions are needed to stop non-smokers from taking up vaping, and potentially becoming hooked on nicotine, will help us decide how best to protect the public from potential harms.

We aim to reduce smoking rates to five percent of the population or less by 2034. Vaping products could help us achieve that and also help people to stop smoking - which is known to be very harmful to health. This is a difficult balance to strike and your views in helping to find that are valuable.  


  • Health and Social Care