Dundee vape campaigner helps develop new laws

Dundee vape campaigner helps develop new laws

Laura Young

An environmental scientist who spent a year campaigning for the banning of disposable vapes, is working with MPs and MSPs to develop new laws.

Laura Young, a PhD student jointly supervised by the University of Dundee and Abertay University, is part of a group working to develop new legislation around the banning of single use vapes.

Set to come into force on April 1 next year, Ms Young’s input is to ensure these new laws avoid any unintended consequences from an environmental and wider ethical perspective.

The 27-year-old, who lives in Dundee but is originally from Glasgow, said: “All sectors need to work together, and that needs to continue to get the best legislation.

“It’s about shaping what new legislation looks like, closing any loopholes, and assessing the consequences and how we can resolve them.

“It’s also about asking how we can battle youth vaping – we don’t want to see other products popping up. We don’t want it to turn into whack-a-mole, when we get rid of one problem then another one pops up.”

Ms Young, who was named Scottish Influencer of the Year last week in recognition of her campaign, is working with a group of stakeholders to help advise ministers to build this legislation.

Known as Less Waste Laura on social media platforms, her campaign began in September 2022 after her dog emerged from bushes during his daily walk carrying a disposable vape in his mouth.

Her initial post on social media went viral and she became one of the first to take up the issue publicly.

She said: “I took this up as an environmental issue, how it can impact on climate change and plastic pollution, and it achieved environmental support.

“But it’s not just a litter problem, there’s also the health aspect and the high risks around kids using them. There are so many issues around them, it was clear what I needed to do.”

She contacted every councillor in Scotland last March – 10 months before the government announced plans to ban them – resulting in cross-party support and 29 out of 32 local authority areas backing a ban.

Through her PhD, Ms Young investigates the links between climate resilience, nature-based solutions, and community engagement and she has been conducting research in parallel with her vape campaign.

She believes community action and local voices are crucial in tackling climate change and is now gathering opinions of Scottish students. Anyone who would like to participate should fill out this short questionnaire. Participants will have a chance to win one of five £50 vouchers.

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