A report by Public Health Wales has found that e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly “widespread” among children, with girls as young as 11 finding the devices “highly appealing”.
Research also showed that it tends to be children with low aspirations – who do not take part in sports or after-school activities – that will smoke e-cigarettes.
As a result, study authors are now calling for a review of education programmes to ensure young people and children are correctly informed of the dangers of e-cigarettes as well as tobacco.
They also recommend the introduction of control measures for the sale of e-cigarettes to children – both online and in shops.
The report findings were reached following an investigation on smoking among girls aged 11 and 12 in North Wales.
Overall it was found that 2% of young girls are smokers, with prevalence rising to 5% in some areas – particularly deprived communities.
Significantly, some of the girls involved in the study admitted to using e-cigarettes.
Andrew Jones, executive director of public health for Betsi Cadwaladr, the health board for North Wales, said: ‘Most of the girls who took part in focus groups could name at least five different flavours of [e-cigarette] vapours which include strawberry milkshake, gummy bear and bubble gum.
‘Some were not aware that e-cigarettes could have nicotine in them and most felt that e-cigarettes were “not as bad” as cigarettes.’
This news follows the recent submission of over 100 letters to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in which experts argued e-cigarettes should be subjected to more stringent controls to ensure they do not cause any harm to users.
Many fear the unregulated devices may contain a number of harmful substances, and that manufacturers are ‘making false and unproven claims’ – misleading the public into thinking the products are a healthier substitute for cigarettes.
Significantly, one study from the University of California, San Francisco, supports this claim. Scientists said that the promotion of e-cigarettes as a way to help people quit smoking is “not only encouraging youth to smoke them, but also it is promoting regular cigarette smoking among youth.’
If you have tried and failed to quit smoking, you may want to consider hypnotherapy. A big part of quitting is letting go of your smoking routine and replacing it with healthier behaviours and distractions. Hypnotherapy is designed to help this process. For more information, please see our quit smoking page.
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