• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Number of Scottish under-18s vaping at an all time high

ByLara van Vorst

Nov 24, 2023
Four disposable vapes on a table

MSPs have been told that one in four 15-year-olds in Scotland are believed to be vaping. 

According to a recent government report for 2022, 14 per cent of vapers were under the age of sixteen and an additional 14 per cent under the age of 18. 

This means almost every fourth vape user was underaged.

The report also showed that 26 million vapes were consumed and disposed of in Scotland in the last year.

An estimated 10 per cent were littered and more than half were incorrectly disposed of. 

Read more: Investigating the molecular implications of smoking

A Holyrood committee has been informed of this after First Minister Humza Yousaf announced in early September that his government would consider the ban of single-use vapes. 

In an address to the Scottish Parliament, he said:

“In the next year we will take action to reduce vaping  – particularly among children.”

“I am pleased to announce that this government will consult on curbing the sale of disposable single-use vapes, including consulting on an outright ban.”

John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association disagrees with the idea of banning e-cigarettes entirely. 

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He points out the “fantastic work that vaping is doing with adult smokers” to stop people from smoking. 

Dunne also argues that banning vapes would create a black market and that the government should instead focus on stricter licensing to prevent vendors from selling vapes to children. 

Trading Standards Scotland carried out a series of test purchase operations last year that revealed that one in five premises sold vapes to an underage test buyer. 

Sheila Duffy, Action on Smoking and Health Scotland chief executive told MSPs that the huge increase of young vapers in Scotland over the last years is: “driven by products that are marketed pretty much entirely at children, through bright colours, sweetie flavours, the way they are designed, the price point, the availability.”

From 2019: Is social smoking causing more damage to us than we think?

Similarly, Professor Emily Banks of the Nuffield Department of Population Health pointed out that the tobacco industry’s aim behind marketing e-cigarettes in that way is to create “lifelong customers.” 

According to Banks, an increase in vaping among young people is also connected to an uptake in smoking as nicotine addictions in younger people make them more prone to addictions later in life. 

She also informed MSPs of the health issues that were found to be connected to vaping such as poisoning, loss of consciousness, seizures, and lung injuries. 

Potential links to cardiovascular diseases or cancer require long-term studies to be proven or understood. 

Image: “Disposable Vapes” by Vaping360 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0