Several Big UK Festivals Have Elected to Ban Single-Use Vapes

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Make sure to read the small print on the line-ups of the UK’s favourite festivals, as it is highly likely that ‘disposable vapes’ will no longer be headlining.

Come rain or shine, it feels as though nothing can dampen that palpable excitement each year when festival season rolls around… unless your disposable vape is confiscated upon entry that is. 

Unfortunately for many people embarking on their intimidating quitting journey, several big festivals have elected to ban single-use vapes in order to reduce the non-recyclable waste left behind annually. 

Although a good step for decreasing environmental pollution, it will leave many festival goers relying on their devices high, dry, and desperate for a fruity nicotine hit when awaiting their favourite artists. 

Glastonbury was the first big-name festival to add disposables to a list of prohibited items this year, alongside knives, gazebos, and non-biodegradable body glitter – an eclectic range to say the least. 

With over 200,000 revellers in attendance at the festival in late June, and with disposables being small enough to hide, it’s hard to imagine how such a drastic change was effectively enforced. 

Alas, the Glastonbury Instagram page says:

“In a determined drive to reduce non-recyclable waste and promote more sustainable alternatives, the sale of singleuse vapes will be banned on site.” 

Although a challenging amendment to impose, imagining the rolling fields of Glastonbury unaffected by a sea of rainbow disposables has been a welcome change to many people attending. 

One grateful user took to Instagram to say:

“So so glad to see disposable vapes are not going to be sold on site! Well done Glastonbury.” 

This sentiment has not been shared among attendees of other festivals, with many people holding tickets to Reading and Leeds responding negatively to the festival following in Glastonbury’s footsteps.

Instagram users have jumped at the opportunity to accuse Reading and Leeds of hypocrisy, reminding the festival in the comment section that e-cigarette stalls once sold products at the event. 

Also, back in 2021, ‘Made in Leeds’ partnered with NZO vape, advertising an exclusive offer on disposable vapes as encouragement for people to stock up in time for Leeds Festival. 

The advertisement stated, ‘Get Festival Ready with this pocket friendly device to take with you on the go!’, with directions labelled clearly as to where festival goers could find the offer. 

Although refillable vapes are still permitted, responses on social media have been adverse, with one user saying:

“Sorry, but why are they coming out with all these ridiculous restrictions at the last minute?” 

Other festival goers see the new regulation as more than a restriction, with one concerned user saying:

“All this is going to do is make vapes a black-market product inside the festivals.”

The underlying theme of these changes at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds is sustainability, with the dominant aim being to prevent further pollution and potential hazards at waste centres around the UK. 

Countrywide schemes are also underway, with many organisations across Wales and Ireland urging for a ban on disposables to be implemented at festivals and other organised pop-up events. 

Keep Wales Tidy (KWT), an environmental charity in Wales, would welcome a ban in light of many local authorities across the country calling for prohibition on all disposable products by 2024. 

Owen Derbyshire, Chief Executive of KWT, said:

“One thing I’d really welcome is if organisations and festivals consider banning single-use vapes”…an opinion shared by the Irish Government. 

The sale of vapes and other tobacco inhalants will be banned at music festivals in Ireland under the government’s new law to clamp down on the rising popularity of disposables among teenagers. 

With sustainability at the forefront of these bans, it might be hard for some vapers to wrap their heads around why alternative recycling options aren’t being offered, such as vape bins on site. 

But following a recent e-cigarette spiking incident at the Isle of Wight Festival, it is becoming increasingly obvious that a greener future for the planet is not the sole reason behind the bans. 

However, despite festival season drawing to a close, it’s best to stay vigilant and look out for new rules, of which there will likely be an influx following the trendsetting bans this year.


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