‘Public health ticking time bomb’: Tory MP warns vapes are being 'illicitly traded' by children in school playgrounds

2 May 2023, 20:59 | Updated: 2 May 2023, 21:49

The Tory MP has said more needs to be done to discourage youngsters from vaping.
The Tory MP has said more needs to be done to discourage youngsters from vaping. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

A Conservative MP has said vapes are a “ticking time bomb” for young people as he warns e-cigarettes are being “illicitly traded” on school playgrounds.

Tory MP Neil Hudson has suggested vapes should be hidden out of view in shops, as he told parliament the “appealing, colourful, fruit-flavoured” options make e-cigarettes seem “like sweeties on shelves”.

Mr Hudson, the MP for Penrith and The Border, is pushing for action from the government to discourage under-18s from using the cigarette alternatives.

The demand comes after last month ministers pledged they would crackdown on the illicit sale of vape products to youngsters by the introduction of an “illicit vapes enforcement squad”.

Mr Hudson also told parliament of the impact e-cigarettes are having on children’s sleeping habits, as the addiction disrupts their sleep.

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He said children are “setting their alarms for two or three in the morning so they can vape in the middle of the night to avoid withdrawal symptoms the next day.”

“At school there have been reports of students leaving lessons and even walking out of examinations because they simply cannot last without the use of a vape.

The MP said the packaging makes vapes seem like 'sweeties on shelves'.
The MP said the packaging makes vapes seem like 'sweeties on shelves'. Picture: Alamy

"If vaping is having detrimental impacts on the life chances of our young children this is not merely a matter of health but one of social and educational development.

"One teacher in my constituency even noted that so widespread is the issue that vapes are being illicitly traded in the school playground."

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When questioned on how the government should tackle the issue, Mr Hudson responded: “I think we really need to tackle the advertising, making sure that the labelling is sufficient.”

“I fear that we have a public health ticking time bomb for our young people that we must as a parliament and a society address as a priority."

Previously, Conservative health minister Neil O’Brien said of the issue amongst young people: “We know that vapes are not risk-free. Nicotine is highly addictive and it can be harmful and there are unanswered questions about the effect in the longer-term use.

“Our message is very clear: vapes should not be used by people under the age of 18 or by non-smokers."

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