House of Parliament considers vaping among under-18s

The Vaping session in Parliament took part on the 2nd of May and the first comment came from an MP Neil Hudson and later Caroline Ansell took part. According to this IndeJuice (UK) website which focuses on the theme they title it as Can I Vape At 16 In The UK? and then they go on to state “You must be over the age of 18 to use and purchase e-cigarettes or any other vaping products in the UK. You cannot vape if you’re 16 in the UK. The legal vaping age is 18. You must show valid photo identification if you want to purchase a vape in-store or online. These rules were put into place by the UK government in 2015 and follow the same laws regarding smoking. Stores are forbidden from selling vaping equipment to anyone under 18. This includes vape kits, disposable vapes, e-liquids, and nicotine-free vape juice.” So here is the statement from the MPs in Parliament here from last week, beginning with the opening comment:

Neil Hudson: I beg to move, That this House has considered vaping among under-18s. It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma, and it is great to welcome many colleagues from across the House to this important debate. I completely recognise that vaping has a vital role to play in supporting adults to give up tobacco smoking. However, vaping is a public good only if it is helping people to end addictions that they already have, not creating new ones, especially in our vulnerable young folk. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are seeing an epidemic among our young people, which can be attributed to an increasingly popular and powerful market for disposable vapes. Action on Smoking and Health—ASH —said in its survey of 11 to 17-year-olds in Great Britain that 15.8% of 11 to 17-year-olds had tried vaping in 2022, up from 11.2% in 2021. It also said that in 2022, 7% of 11 to 17-year-olds were current users of vapes, up from 3.3% in 2021.

After several other people had responded and each time Neil had commented and then Gareth Johnson spoke and Neil responded and then Caroline Ansell commented and her text is below.

Neil Hudson: I totally agree. As I said, the use of vaping to help adults get away from tobacco smoking has significant health benefits, but today we are talking about stamping out its use by people who are not trying to give up smoking. We are trying to protect our young people, but I totally concur with my hon. Friend.

Caroline Ansell: My hon. Friend is being very generous in taking interventions. I concur with his last point, but does he agree that one of the issues that we face is advertising? Vapes are stacked up like sweeties in all sorts of outlets, which presents them as rather benign and makes them attractive to younger users.

Neil Hudson: I totally concur. My hon. Friend has read my mind: I am about to talk about the advertising, the colourful labelling, the fruit flavours and so on, which draw in young people.

I have asked a number of parliamentary questions about vaping, and the recurrent theme in the Government’s answers is that they acknowledge that vapes are not risk free, and that nicotine is highly addictive and can be harmful. Some studies suggest that vaping among young people can be a gateway to risky behaviour such as drinking and tobacco smoking, which would be a perverse thing to happen. Vaping is supposed to get adults off smoking, but if it is leading young people into smoking, that is not a good thing.

A bit later Neil O’Brien contributed to this text and he was responding to Gareth Johnson and again Caroline responded and Neil initially responded to her comment. The rest of that contribution from him is on the system along with the other comments from a range of other people including Gareth Johnson.

Neil O’Brien: My hon. Friend is right, and I will come to that in a moment. The call for evidence that I talked about will be open for the next eight weeks, and we hope that everyone concerned will take the opportunity to share their views and put evidence in, to shape our future approach.

Caroline Ansell: In the review, will there be any consideration of the role of Trading Standards?

Neil O’Brien: Absolutely, and I hope people will put in evidence on that. I will touch in a moment on something else we are doing. In the speech I mentioned, I announced the new specialised illicit vaping flying squad, a team to tackle under-age vape sales and illicit products that young people are accessing. It will hold companies to account and enforce rules…….

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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