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Draconian action urged by health charity to stop vaping "epidemic"

This news post is 8 months old

Children are being enticed to vape

Flavoured e-cigarettes should be banned and all vaping products hidden in shops, in a bid to tackle an "epidemic" of addiction among schoolchildren, a health charity has warned.

Respiratory paediatricians in Scotland have said that the widespread use of vapes among school children is now an "epidemic", according to Ash Scotland – the charity set up by the Royal College of Physicians to tackle the harm caused by tobacco.

The health charity is troubled by World Health Organisation (WHO) evidence suggesting young people who use e-cigarettes are up to three times more likely than those who do not to become addicted to nicotine and start smoking tobacco, and believes that no time should be lost by governments aiming to reduce the uptake of recreational vaping products – and especially single-use disposables which are impacting on both health and the environment.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: “We welcome the commitment of the governments at Holyrood and Westminster to prioritise actions aimed at tackling the alarming upsurge of children using e-cigarettes which is a cause for great concern.

Duffy said the scale of the public health challenge demands the introduction of “swift and robust measures” to bring an immediate halt to the exponential rise in vaping amongst Scotland’s children and young people over the past few years.

“Children and young people are attracted to the taste and smell of fruit and sweet flavoured e-cigarettes, as well as the colourful engaging designs, packaging and marketing of vapes – especially disposables which can cost as little as £2 and are the vaping product of choice for the majority of youngsters,” she said.

“As most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which is extremely addictive, as well as toxic chemicals in the flavourings that have not been safety tested for inhalation and could damage lung health over time, we are advocating for the removal of all flavours except tobacco from these health harming products.

Ash is also calling for an outright ban of single-use disposable e-cigarettes on both public health and environmental grounds. Other measures such as the standardised of vaping device designs and packaging through to reduce the attractiveness of products to children should be imposed as well as and all e-cigarettes hidden from view in retail environments so that they can no longer be displayed at points-of-sale surrounded by confectionery.

Duffy added: “With the Scottish Government having already consulted on its proposed regulations to tighten rules on the advertising and promotions of recreational vaping products in 2022 and having legislation in place to enact measures, Ash is calling for regulations to be laid for parliament at the earliest opportunity as a vital step towards protecting the health of children now and future generations.”