Mark Whitehead 18 May 2023

Number of children experimenting with vaping up 50%

Number of children experimenting with vaping up 50%  image
Image: Amani A /

The number of shops selling vaping products to people under 18 has risen sharply, according to council leaders.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says shops and other outlets selling vaping products has become a major concern for councils.

It was responding to a survey carried out by YouGov for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) which found that children experimenting with vaping went up 50% last year, although it found no significant change in the proportion of 11-17 year olds regularly vaping or smoking.

The poll found that children were most aware of vape promotion in shops which is also where exposure has grown most rapidly, up from 37% last year to 53% in 2023.

The findings will be submitted as part of the Government’s call for evidence on measures to reduce the number of children accessing vaping, while ensuring e-cigarettes can still be used by adults who want to quit smoking.

David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘As this stark research shows, it is deeply worrying that more and more children who have never smoked are starting vaping.

‘This is becoming a major concern for councils, who are seeing a sharp rise in cases of shops and other outlets selling vaping products to people under 18.

‘To tackle this issue and ensure vaping is kept out of reach of children, vapes should be sold in plain packaging and be out-of-sight behind the counter.

‘As well as this, age-of-sale signage on vaping products must be made mandatory in the same way that it currently is for cigarette products.

'We know that vaping plays a part in helping long term smokers quit, improving their health outcomes and reducing pressure on overstretched health and social care services.’

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