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Children and young people

Vaping can help adult smokers to quit, and poses significantly less risk than smoking tobacco.  However, the use of nicotine vapes by children and young people is both illegal in respect of selling to this group and the long term health impacts are unknown. There is a minimum age of sale for vaping products in the UK. It is illegal to sell nicotine vaping products to anyone under 18 or for adults to buy them on behalf of under-18s.

However, there is evidence of use by young people and concerns around this. The latest findings by ASH on youth vaping describes the current situation. ASH youth vaping briefing 2023

If you find a retailer selling either nicotine vapes or tobacco products to under-18s, you can report a retailer to local authority Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice online portal.

Talking to young people about vaping

It’s important for young people to know the facts about vaping so they can make an informed choice. Young people can find out more on the FRANK website.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PHSE) education has shared a year 9 lesson plan on youth vaping, exploring the consequences of vaping and challenging the influences that might encourage young people to vape.

This has been designed to follow on from the Year 9 lessons in PSHE’s existing suite of drug and alcohol education lessons.

Parents, carers and anyone working with children can make sure young people understand the health facts about vaping and know about vaping and the law.

Facts to tell young people about vaping:

  • Vaping is a way for adults to stop smoking – not something for non-smokers, especially children and young people to try.
  • In the UK, it is against the law to sell nicotine vaping products to under-18s or for adults to buy them on their behalf.
  • Nicotine may be riskier for young people than for adults, as evidence suggests lungs and the brain in adolescence are more sensitive to its effects.

Source: NHS Better Health


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