Teenage vape survey findings are a ‘major worry’ – charityACTA
Campaigners are calling for the Scottish government to act after a survey found one in 10 school pupils in S4 now regularly vape.
Anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland said it was a “major worry” that e-cigarette use by 15-year-olds had tripled in the last five years.
The Scottish government Health and Wellbeing Census polled 25,380 pupils in S2 and S4.
It said the findings would be used to inform its updated Tobacco Action Plan.
The data found that 10.1% of S4 students, aged around 15 years old, and 4.3% of S2 students, around 13 years old, reported using e-cigarettes once a week or more.
It also suggested that young people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland are more likely to regularly vape (7.8%) than those in the most affluent areas (4.6%).
ASH Scotland, which works to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, urged ministers to do more to protect children’s health.
Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Children using e-cigarettes is a major worry as most vaping products include nicotine, which is highly addictive, and toxic e-liquids that have not been safety tested for inhalation, and could risk damage to their growing lungs over time.
“Promoting novel products such as recreational e-cigarettes is one way in which the tobacco industry is reaching out to future generations of potential consumers.
“It is an issue that needs to be tackled by the Scottish government as a matter of urgency.”
The charity said that regular e-cigarette use by 13-year-olds had more than doubled in the last five years.
It pointed to the most recent Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey published in 2018 which suggested regular vaping by 13-year-olds and 15-year-olds stood at 2% and 3% at the time.
A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We are very concerned by reports of young people obtaining e-cigarettes or vaping products and have asked ASH Scotland to undertake work with young people to help them understand the risks.
“Last year we consulted on restrictions on the advertising and promotion of vaping products.
“These are aimed at reducing the visibility of vapes to children, young people and adult non-smokers.
“Any action we seek to take will build on the regulations already in place to restrict the marketing, promotion and sale of vaping products to under-18s.”