Support our Nation today - please donate here

Public Health Wales launches urgent response to address increase in teenagers vaping

19 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Phot by tomkohhantsuk from Pixabay

Public Health Wales (PHW) has announced a new initiative to tackle the growing problem of vaping among children and young people in Wales.

PHW has acted following research by the School Health Research Network which showed a rapid increase in vaping by secondary school-aged students between 2019 and 2022, particularly among girls.

Over the last year feedback from parents and headteachers in Wales suggests rates may have continued to rise and worryingly that more young people are showing signs of problematic use or dependency.

Health officials say that while vaping can be a valuable aid to assist tobacco smokers who have been unable to quit by other means it is clear that vaping is not safe for non-smokers.

There are concerns that frequent use may be exposing young people to the risk of addiction to nicotine which can cause problems with attention, mood, impulse control. There is also concern about the impact of nicotine on the developing brain.

In addition, illegal vaping products which do not conform to UK regulations are regularly available on the high street. These often contain higher levels of nicotine than the law allows.

They have been found to contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals including lead, nickel and chromium. Similarly, there are concerns that products are being sold illegally to young people aged under 18.

Urgent containment

PHW has set up an Incident Response Group (IRG) to coordinate efforts with various partners, such as the Welsh Government, health boards, and schools to combat the growing incidence of youngsters vaping. IRGs are more commonly used to organise the urgent containment of incidents of communicable disease.

Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales and Chair of the IRG, said: “Vaping has not been around long enough for the risks of long-term use to be fully understood particularly among young people where there may be greater risks to the developing brain.

“Unfortunately, there is some evidence that use of vaping products is growing among young people in Wales and schools are increasingly raising concern about the impact vaping is having on some young people’s education.

“The establishment of the incident response group will allow Public Health Wales to gain an insight into the current extent of this issue, as well as identify opportunities with partners in education, healthcare and Welsh Government to prevent further harms as soon as possible.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago

A cynical tax collecting government stands-by while the tobacco industry ensnares another generation of young people and their stupid parents allow it to happen…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.