Kids Spurn Cigarettes

Posted 29th May 2019 by Dave Cross
Research by The Institute for Social Marketing demonstrates that kids’ see smoking as “unappealing and unacceptable”. A national report on “Student Health and Wellbeing In Wales” also finds that teens are continuing to turn away from tobacco – and only current or ex-smokers vape.

The Institute for Social Marketing’s study has just been published in the British Medical Journal's Tobacco Control. Although the study looked at teens noticing cigarettes displayed at points of sale and brand awareness linked to smoking susceptibility, it demonstrates that vaping has not normalised or glamorised smoking.

They found that 90% of never smokers aged 11 to 16 years supported display bans, 77% said cigarettes seem unappealing, and 87% believed smoking was unacceptable.

Kruti Shrotri, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control manager, said: "Contrary to Big Tobacco's belief that banning displays would make no difference this study shows that by putting cigarettes out of sight and out of mind far fewer youngsters are taking up the deathly habit."

More directly, the Welsh National Report, conducted by DECIPHer at Cardiff University's Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement, found continued dropping rates for teen smoking and no negative impacts of vaping.

The report states: “Rates of smoking among adults in Wales have declined steadily from 2003 to 2015, but plateaued between 2016 and 2018 and currently stand at 19%. HBSC data for adolescents in Wales show a similar decline from 10% in 1985/86 to 3% in 2013/14 and the gender gap between male and female rates has also diminished.”

“Differences in smoking rates across social classes remain a major concern, however, as smoking is more than twice as common in adults in the most deprived areas of Wales (28%) compared to the least deprived (13%). As smoking is a leading cause of death and ill health, this means it is a major driver of health inequalities, the reduction of which is a key focus of Welsh Government’s current tobacco control delivery plan.”

One of the major objections to vaping in public spaces by the Welsh Assembly used to be the renormalisation of smoking and that vaping would be a gateway to cigarettes. These data show clearly that this has not happened over the last two years.

Plus, when it comes to vaping: “Use of e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) among children and adolescents has been the focus of intense scrutiny internationally and has been monitored in Wales since 2013. Between 2013 and 2015 experimentation with e-cigarettes among 11 to 16 year olds grew rapidly and in 2015 was almost twice as common as experimentation with tobacco. Regular use of e-cigarettes though remained concentrated primarily among current or ex-smokers, with little regular use among never smokers.”

So, despite the Assembly’s fears that vaping would attract ranks of new nicotine users, it shows that it is working as it does for the adult population – just helping smokers to escape tobacco use.

 

Resources:

  • Institute for Social Marketing – [link]
  • “Impact of a ban on the open display of tobacco products in retail outlets” by Ford, MacKintosh, Moodie, Kuipers, Hastings and Bauld – [link]
  • DECIPHer – [link]
  • Welsh National Report – [link]
 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker