Mixed Attitudes to Children Vaping

Posted 25th August 2016 by Dave Cross
Last month, we covered the story of how Doctor Jessica Barrington-Trimis believed her researched justified a call for even stronger action towards electronic cigarettes because teen use is “possibly followed by increases in smoking.” Now there have been supporting messages for her stance coupled with news that shops are illegally supplying vaping equipment directly to children.

Following Barrington-Trimis’ study, Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said: “Once kids get hooked on e-cigarettes, they are more likely to go on to become cigarette smokers.” Glantz, like Doctor Jessica, failed to cite any conclusive proof for this position.

Speaking to the New York Times, Dr. Michael Siegel rebuffed: “E-cigarette use among teenagers is a largely social phenomenon. The fact that you tend to see teenagers doing this in groups, not out in the cold vaping alone, suggests that e-cigarettes are not addictive.”

The Daily Telegraph in Australia took up a surprising position when it carried an article saying: “If teens are going to smoke, better it be an e-cigarette.” Sailing into the prevailing Australian public health winds, the feature relies heavily on the evidence collected by Public Health England to point out the lack of evidence that vaping leads to smoking.

In fact, research has indicated that restricting sales of ecigs to teens actually increases the volume of cigarettes they purchase. But arguments of whether or not vaping leads anywhere are irrelevant when actually selling products to teens is illegal. The vape community worked very hard to impose voluntary ethical standards of conduct over selling to minors, something that was enshrined in Britain under new legislation.

The Stoke Sentinel quotes Newcastle-under-Lyme vendor Mathew Shalcross as saying: “We have refused to serve our products to under-18s even before it was the law because we felt we had a moral duty to do so. It is disgusting that there are shops that will sell these to under-18s. We have had children in uniform trying in the past. When we say no, they say they'll just go somewhere else and we think well, it may be a loss in trade for us but it would be wrong to serve them and now it is against the law anyway.”

It comes as no surprise to discover that Trading Standards have discovered that almost 40% of sellers happily supplied vaping devices to children aged between 14 and 17 years old. 246 of the 634 retailers visited by the Trading Standard’s team failed to abide by the law in what they described as “a disappointingly low” compliance rate. The BBC quotes ECITA’s Tom Pruen as saying: “This is a genuine concern and one which requires careful monitoring, and responsible action from the industry at all levels.”

Hardly offering any crumb of comfort, but at least those sales involved the exchange of money - unlike the case of the young boy who was taken by his parents on a shocking robbing spree in a Wigan vape store.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker