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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

MSP fears flavoured vapes and e-cigs are luring more children into danger

Ayr MSP, Siobhian Brown, has expressed her concern over vaping and a surge in young people using e-cigarettes. The mother of three is worried about use among those too young to legally buy these products.

While she supports Scottish Government guidance about their use to quit smoking, she says that sweet-flavoured products, are luring younger children into nicotine addiction.

Commenting, Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown said:

“At first, I noticed a surge in the use of e-cigarette, or vaping as it is commonly known, amongst teenagers in the street and outside of secondary schools. However, in recent months, local constituents have been in touch about children as young as 11 vaping in primary school. I was shocked to hear this, as it is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy e-cigarettes in Scotland. I have seen a very visible increase in vape advertising, most recently last week, in a very well-known supermarket. They seemed to have introduced a ‘vaping’ section in the health aisle and now we see them displayed at supermarket and retail point of sale areas. I’m horrified at this.

“I recently met with charity ASH Scotland to discuss my concerns. A YouGov UK-wide survey of 2,613 children carried out for ASH in March 2022 showed current vaping rates among 11-17-year olds are up by almost double from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022. This is worrying. These devices are not products for children and young people or non-smokers, they are useful only as a potential route towards stopping smoking. There is strong evidence that e-cigarettes may create a new route into smoking for young people.”

“Many vapes are bright and colourful and there are thousands of e-liquid flavours such as cotton candy and cola available, increasing their attractiveness to children and young people. These devices contain up to 50 cigarettes worth of nicotine at a fraction of the price.

“One small-scale study, carried out by researchers at the University of Cambridge in 2016, has been largely ignored, despite finding that flavoured e-cigarette adverts were more appealing than adverts for non-flavoured e-cigarettes. This elicited greater interest in buying and trying, among a group of 598 English 11-16-year-olds.

“I recognise, that longer-term risks of vaping cannot yet be definitively confirmed by peer-reviewed research studies, but the early signs are deeply concerning. The UK Surgeon General said this year that youngsters are also uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. These risks include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s recent public consultation about bringing rules in to limit the way vape products can be advertised and promoted. I look forward to the report and recommendations. In light of my concerns and research, I will be taking what I have shared here to my colleagues in the Scottish Government.”

Commenting Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity ASH Scotland said:

“We share Siobhian Brown MSP’s concerns about the upsurge in children and young people using vaping products, most of which contain nicotine that can be highly addictive.

“Vaping products have various flavours, colourings and packaging attractive to young people and there are as many as 8,000 different liquid combinations amongst the ranges available. With many vapes containing toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested and could damage people’s health over time, this is especially alarming for children and young people as their lungs are still growing.

“We strongly support the precautionary steps proposed by the Scottish Government to curb the promotion of recreational vaping products to protect youngsters from being lured into experimenting. We look forward to working with Siobhan to raise awareness about the importance of these restrictions with her fellow elected representatives in Holyrood.

“We owe it to forthcoming generations in Ayr and across Scotland to restrict the advertising and promotion – including at retail points of sale – to limit visibility of vapes. These products are not harmless and such measures would help to reduce the risk of youngsters gambling away their long-term health.”


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