31/03/2023 - Permalink

Shropshire Council warns families about the risks of vaping for children

Related topics: Children's services / Health / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council is encouraging families to start conversations about the risks of vaping, as reports suggest that e-cigarettes and vapes have become increasingly popular with teenagers across the country.  

Two vaping devices on a white background

The safest option for children is not to vape

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:- 

“Vaping is not for children and is not risk free. Much of the current research focuses on adults using vape devices as a ‘quit smoking’ tool, where there is less harm in the short and medium term compared to tobacco smoking. There are, however, higher risks of exposure to harmful substances from vaping compared with not using a vape or not smoking at all.    

“There is limited research on how vaping can affect the health and development of children and young people; the safest option for children is not to vape or to smoke. 

“In the UK it is illegal to sell nicotine containing vapes to anyone under the age of 18 years, or for adults to buy these products for them. There are concerns that the colourful packaging, designs and flavours of vapes are appealing to children, and that they have become too easy to buy online. Some of the products that can be bought in this way may also fall below the required safety standard and could have batteries or chargers that are hazardous to use.  

“There are also national and local concerns that vapes can be used by organised criminal gangs and drug dealers to attract young people into criminal activity, or to get someone interested in misusing drugs. Parent and carers should be aware of this and observe and respond to any changes in their children and young people. This could include noticing a child receiving vapes as gifts or rewards, becoming more secretive, or a decline in their mental health due to pressures from criminals or peers.  

“Shropshire Council are working with partners to better understand and respond to local concerns about underage vaping, and will be sharing more information as further research becomes available.” 

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for public health, adult social care and communities said:- 

“We know that e-cigarettes can be a helpful tool for adults who are trying to quit smoking, and we accept the research that the benefits outweigh the risks for this group. What we are worried about is the rise in children and young people who have never smoked, starting vaping for the first time.    

“This may be down to peer pressure or the novelty of the product itself, but we would encourage parents and carers to start talking with children about this issue to protect their health in the long term. 

“There are some useful resources on the Internet that present the facts in a way that is simple to understand. The Easter break from school is a good opportunity to learn about this issue together and start an open, positive and ongoing conversation in your family.” 

Useful resources 

 Vapes | FRANK (talktofrank.com) 

ASH resources on youth vaping – ASH 

NHS Better Health | Vaping to quit smoking