Electronic Cigarettes: Children and Young People

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5 July 2023.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the increasing number of children and young people vaping.

Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask His Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to banning the sale of flavoured vapes which may be attractive to children and young people.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government assessment is that youth vaping has increased. Over the past decade, the use of vapes by children has been consistently low. However, data collected in NHS Digital’s Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England survey showed that in 2021 9% of 11 to 15 year old children currently used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018.

It is illegal to sell nicotine vapes to children and we are concerned about the recent rises in youth vaping, particularly because of the unknown long-term harms. To address this the government announced in April a call for evidence on youth vaping and £3 million of additional funding through the creation of an illicit vapes enforcement squad to tackle underage sales.

At the end of May the Prime Minister made a further announcement to close a loophole that allows industry from giving out free samples, increase education and to support the dedicated school police liaison officers to keep illegal vapes out of schools, and review both on the spot fines and underage sales for non-nicotine vapes.

Our youth vaping call for evidence closed on the 6 June. This call explored a range of issues and asked questions related to the appeal of vapes to children. We are analysing responses and the evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products. This will include an assessment of the appeal of flavours. We will publish the response early this autumn to outline our next steps.

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