Two thirds of year 10 pupils in Wales who vape daily show signs of nicotine dependency
Two thirds of year 10 pupils who vape daily show signs of nicotine dependency, according to a new study carried out by Public Health Wales.
The survey in Welsh secondary schools, which was undertaken in response to the growing trend of youngsters vaping, also found that an estimated nine to 10 per cent of Year 10 pupils vape on a daily basis.
Among these daily vapers around two thirds showed signs of moderate or high dependency to nicotine using a validated measure.
According to Public Health Wales the impact of this dependency is being seen by schools, which are also reporting increasing problems with vape use and problem behaviours as a result.
Headteachers have reported that vape use has become a growing issue over the last two years leading to them having to monitor specific areas of their site for vaping (for example toilets).
School leaders also reported an increase in school exclusions relating to vaping in the past academic year
In response to the escalating reports of vaping among students, Public Health Wales convened an Incident Response Group (IRG) in August.
The IRG, which comprises experts from various fields, including the Welsh Government, health boards, and school representatives, will soon publish a report detailing the evidence on vaping among Welsh youth and suggesting effective measures to combat the rise in vaping and its associated harms.
It is expected to detail what vaping devices are, their known health risks, the current law surrounding their use, and how schools can respond to vape use among learners.
While vapes offer certain health benefits to smokers transitioning away from traditional cigarettes, they present no advantages to non-smokers, especially for young people.
The potential for nicotine addiction from vaping poses significant risks to young people’s education, behaviour, and overall well-being.
Although it is not yet possible to fully determine the health impacts over the course of a lifetime, IRG members are concerned longer term health impacts may be identified later by which time many young people may have already developed a life-long habit, despite being members of a demographic who would otherwise never have used tobacco products.
Trading Standards are already aware that there are many illegal products available in shops that don’t comply with current safety regulations.
Earlier this week Wrexham.com reported that over £30,000 of illegal, disposable vapes had been seized from shop in Wrexham city centre.
Examination of the various vapes on sale revealed that around 3000 of the products available for sale were illegal and were removed.
The items seized were being sold for about £10 each meaning that the total street value of the seizure is approximately £30,000.
UK law restricts both the size and the nicotine content of disposable vapes.
However the items seized were over twice the permitted nicotine strength and also exceeded the 2ml permitted maximum content of vaping fluid.
Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales, said: “The vaping industry has expanded rapidly over the last decade.”
“Products are consistently marketed in ways that younger people find appealing with brightly-coloured packaging, modern designs, and flavours that mimic confectionary products.’
“As a new and rapidly evolving product, the risks of vaping are not yet fully understood but it is already clear they are of no benefit to non-smokers and young people.”
“Evidence shows there has been a marked increase in reports of regular and dependent vaping among secondary school age children, and this is affecting their ability to learn.”
‘The Incident Response Group will continue to gather information relating to the issue in Wales and offer leadership in mitigating further harms to public health.”
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