Health & Studies

Institute Urges Tighter Regulations

The George Institute for Global Health has published research findings and concludes that the United Kingdom needs tighter regulations to discourage teen uptake of vaping

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The George Institute for Global Health has published research findings and concludes that the United Kingdom needs tighter regulations to discourage teen uptake of vaping. It says its mission is “to improve the health of millions of people worldwide”. Many young people who’ve never vaped may be susceptible to starting, it claims.

Research from The George Institute for Global Health has been published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of people aged 15-30 in the UK who have never used e-cigarettes may be susceptible to taking up vaping in the future,” the authors claim.

Their results comes from an online survey conducted with 4,007 people from India, China, the UK and Australia.

The authors say that after being a current or past tobacco user, advertising is the second greatest most powerful indicator of susceptibility to vape – “while perceived harmfulness reduced the likelihood of susceptibility”.

Professor Simone Pettigrew, lead author and Program Director of Health Promotion and Behaviour Change at The George Institute said: “These findings suggest that an overwhelming number of young people may be at risk of e-cigarette use in the UK and in other countries. While some types of promotion of these products is prohibited, advertising on posters, billboards, and buses is still prevalent in the UK. A complete ban on e-cigarette advertising should be considered, as it is clearly influencing young people’s attitudes towards these addictive and potentially harmful products.”

In a press release from the Institute, the authors state: “Results from 333 people surveyed in the UK who had never used e-cigarettes before showed that 55% were curious about them, 50% would use them if offered by a friend, and 41% had intentions to use them in the next year. Researchers also found that almost two-thirds (63%) of UK respondents had seen e-cigarette advertising, a far higher number than in China (51%), India (47%) and Australia (30%) where the study also took place. UK respondents were less likely to believe that e-cigarettes are addictive (74%) or harmful (67%), compared to those in Australia (87% and 83%, respectively), where susceptibility was lowest (54%).”

The release goes on to claim: “The UK e-cigarette industry generated an estimated revenue of £1.3 billion in 2021. Young people make up a considerable portion of consumers, with around 11% of those aged 16–34 - approximately 1.6 million individuals - using e-cigarettes daily or occasionally, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Young people are also more likely to be exposed to unregulated e-cigarette promotion on social media, via advertisements that are in breach of the UK advertising code.”

Dr Ana-Catarina Pinho-Gomes, Honorary Research Fellow at The George Institute UK said: “Many young people worldwide are trialling e-cigarettes despite the unknown health effects of their long-term use. Harmful chemicals in unregistered products are a major concern, as is the often unlabelled amount of nicotine, which is highly addictive. To discourage further uptake of e-cigarettes among young people who have never smoked, the government needs to do more to educate on their negative effects.”

The report is questionable given that this it makes no reference to the actual usage figures over time produced by Action on Smoking an Health or the Smoking Toolkit Study, or the fact that all e-liquids registered with the MHRA have to display the nicotine content.

Indeed, it fails to reference any positive independent British research, leaning heavily into dubious work produced in the States and Australia.

It appears that The George Institute for Global Health has simply outed itself as being another foreign body attempting to disrupt the UK’s positive experience with tobacco harm reduction.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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