E-cigarettes (Teenagers)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th October 2022.

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Photo of Stephanie Callaghan Stephanie Callaghan Scottish National Party

3. To ask the First Minister what steps the Scottish Government is taking to curb the reported sharp rise in e-cigarette use among teenagers. (S6F-01433)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We are greatly concerned by reports of young people obtaining e-cigarettes or vaping products. The only place for vaping should be as a possible aid to help existing smokers to quit using tobacco. Underpinning our concern is clear evidence that vaping products are not harm free. That is married with our concern about the tobacco industry’s involvement with and influence over vaping.

Last week, we published our consultation analysis on proposed restrictions on vaping products, and the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport aims to bring forward new regulations in the new year.

Photo of Stephanie Callaghan Stephanie Callaghan Scottish National Party

The recent consultation “Tightening rules on advertising and promoting vaping products” produced polarised views.

However, given that major Scottish football clubs are signing partnerships with vaping companies, and given reports that TikTok influencers are platforming such products to young people online, we need decisive action to control the crisis before it spirals out of control. Will the First Minister confirm whether further consideration has been given to introducing stricter regulations on the sale and marketing of e-cigarette products, both online and offline, and whether an effective, clear and educational public health message that addresses the new epidemic of nicotine addiction in children and young people is being developed?

The First Minister:

Yes. I agree with the sentiments of that question. We are carefully considering the outcome of the consultation. We have not ruled anything out at this stage. Any action that we seek to take will build on the regulations that are already in place, which restrict the marketing, promotion and sale of vaping products to under-18s.

We recognise the vital importance of having a clear public health message for young people on the potential dangers of vaping, and we are working with Young Scot and the Children’s Parliament to bring their voices into our work to develop a refreshed tobacco action plan. We are determined to create a smoke-free Scotland, in which nicotine addiction is a thing of the past.

Photo of Siobhian Brown Siobhian Brown Scottish National Party

Will data on youth vaping that is collected from the local schools survey be collated and considered in the Scottish Government’s tobacco action plan that is due to be published next year?

The First Minister:

Yes, it will be. We have a stated ambition to create a tobacco-free generation in Scotland by 2034, and we will consider how such a survey on vaping can help to deliver that ambition.