Waitrose has been called out for “woke hypocrisy” for banning the sale of disposable vapes.
The supermarket chain recently announced the banning the sale of single-use vaping products citing concerns over public health and the environment.
According to Waitrose commercial director Charlotte Di Cello, the supermarket chain was motivated by “doing the right thing” and attributed the rise of people vaping “fuelled by the popularity among those who haven’t previously smoked”.
Despite, online vape retailer, Blo Bar, recognising this as a “bold stance” from the retailer, it endorses its efforts to protect young people and non-cigarette smokers.
Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free
A spokesperson for Blo Bar said: “Single-use vapes should solely be used as a convenient option for ex-cigarette users who want to quit.
“However, with fears that the bold and colourful designs are appealing to the wrong audience, Waitrose banning the sale of disposable vapes over the counter is a step in the right direction for protecting young people from vaping, and those who have never used cigarettes before.”
The spokesperson added that by removing the spontaneity of picking up a disposable vape when customers are doing their weekly shop, it means people can make “more conscious decisions about vaping”.
“As an alternative to impulse buying, disposable vape users can purchase vapes more mindfully when buying from an online retailer instead. Plus, there are still age verification processes in place to protect those below the legal vaping age from purchasing such products,” they added.
However, the co-CEO of e-cigarette seller, Vaping.com, Neil McLaren, branded the grocer’s decision as “virtue signalling”, adding that if Waitrose wanted to protect people and the environment, it would stop selling cigarettes altogether.
He said: “Waitrose will be happy with some cheap headlines following their decision to stop selling disposable vapes. But the virtue signalling move reeks of hypocrisy since they’re happy to keep selling cigarettes.
“The supermarket should take cigarettes – the most littered item on the planet – off the shelves instead of carping on about vapes.
“If they stop selling cigarettes then they can make a real difference to public health and the planet. But if all they want is cheap headlines, then woke commentary from the PR department seems to do the job.”
A Waitrose spokesperson told Grocery Gazette: “We sell tobacco products in line with law but also provide alternatives to help users give up.
“While sales of cigarettes have fallen significantly in recent years, the market for disposable vapes is new and growing rapidly – including amongst young non-smokers. These devices also have a damaging impact on the environment so it’s not something we want to be part of.”