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How did we allow a generation to become addicted to disposable vapes? Writes Johnny Jenkins
29 January 2024, 13:38
Rishi Sunak says he plans to ban disposable vapes to protect children’s health, but it’s too late - children are already addicted to nicotine.
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No matter where I go, I’m surrounded by smoke. I get off the train and walk into a bubblegum-scented cloud.
I head to the pub and my mates are puffing on plastic devices filling the room with the smell of fresh peaches.
And if I happen to pass a group of teenagers, my nostrils will be assaulted with the flavour of candy floss.
It should alarm us that vapes have become commonplace at the school gates - one in five children tried it last year and 7% use them regularly.
Before the vape boom, school pupils went to corner shops to munch on sugary sweets. Now they produce clouds of nicotine.
While cigarettes have been used by a fraction of children for years, nicotine consumption has now skyrocketed.
The NHS website tells us that vaping ‘poses a small fraction of the risk’ of cigarettes, but the following sentence is the one that matters.
‘The long-term risks of vaping are not yet clear’.
This should set off alarm bells in the minds of all teachers and parents in Britain. I cannot understand why we’ve allowed millions to use e-cigarettes when we still don’t know their full consequences.
I fear that in the coming years, we’ll have bad news about the health impacts of these devices.
The government’s vape announcement is just one part of Sunak’s ‘Smoke Free Generation’ plan, but it’s going to take more than this to wean our teens off these harmful chemicals.
One of the options the PM is considering is limiting vapes to just four flavours. I’ve got no idea how he will decide which ones survive the cull.
A leading vape shop says the most popular flavours sold include sour blueberry and blue lemonade. They’re sold for around £5 and can last for 600 puffs.
When finished, the plastic products are thrown away. Five million are sent to landfill every week. That too should worry us all.
There’s no doubt that kids are partly attracted to the products because of their whacky flavours, but it’s mainly due to trends.
As long as they’re affordable and cool, they’ll continue to be bought and used. The government must ensure our children stop using vapes - but this plan doesn’t go far enough.