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Review to tackle ‘growing epidemic’ of vaping

05 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Photo Nicholas.T.Ansell PA Wire

The British Medical Association (BMA) will review the potential dangers of vaping in a bid to tackle the “growing epidemic” of e-cigarette usage.

At its annual representative meeting in Liverpool on Wednesday, the BMA was urged to explore the dangers of vaping, as well as calling for plain packaging on e-cigarettes in line with tobacco and cigarettes.

The motion, which was approved by members, also urged a ban on flavoured vapes and said more should be done about products being sold to under 18s illegally.

Dr Naabil Khan told delegates: “We have a role and a duty to protect our populations. This can only be achieved through strong and sustainable additions to policy which ensure we address the growing epidemic.”

Dr Ryan Devlin from the BMA’s Lothian division added: “Vaping can help you quit smoking, but those who have never smoked should not try it.

“We know that it’s dangerous, dangers that are exacerbated in young people. Yet the number who have never smoked trying vapes is increasing.”

He said the number of young people using vapes is “staggering” as they “should not have access to them”.

“Vapes are being sold illegally to this vulnerable group. But why are they even being sought out by under 18s in the first place? It’s not just the visibility, it’s the way they’re marketed – watermelon, bubblegum, candy floss, ice cream.”

Last month, NHS figures revealed 40 children and young people were admitted to hospital in England last year for “vaping related disorders”, up from 11 two years earlier.

Addictive

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) also warned that e-cigarettes “are not a risk-free product and can be just as addictive, if not more so, than traditional cigarettes”.

The BMA’s review will also call for the packaging on e-nicotine products to be made plain, in line with tobacco and cigarettes.

Dr Devlin called on the organisation “to make the dangers of vapes clear”. He added: “Please end this burgeoning health crisis now before it gets any worse.”

Dr Penelope Toff, chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, said: “The area of most concern is that, with their bright colours and packaging, stylised designs, sweetshop-inspired flavours and relatively inexpensive price, these products are clearly being made to appeal to children and young people.”

She said the “conclusive vote” from BMA members on the motion “shows that doctors, whose primary aim is to keep the population well and prevent harm, are rightly angry that products that are a danger to health, are being promoted to children across the UK”.

She said: “Stronger regulation is needed, in line with that for tobacco products, tailored for e-nicotine products, including plain packaging and appropriate health warnings.

“Action must be taken to stop these products being accessed by children. There is a need for further independent research into their long-term impact on both adults and children but meanwhile, urgent steps must be taken to protect people from known harms.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

How could any government give them a licence to sell these things, curse them to Hades…

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