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Commissioner Calls For Ban

The Children’s Commissioner’s response to the Government’s ‘Youth vaping: call for evidence’ calls for a ban on legal disposables

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The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza has responded to the Government’s ‘Youth vaping: call for evidence’ with a call to ban on legal disposables – leaving teens at risk of the unregulated black market. Research shows that almost all teens who use vapes are smokers or ex-smokers (thanks to vaping). It also shows that most used disposable vapes in their quit tobacco attempt.

Last Tuesday, the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health demanded that the Government banned disposable vapes. The Children’s Commissioner has added to the call, calling the marketing of vapes to teens as “insidious” and claiming they leave teens unable to focus in classrooms.

Dame Rachel de Souza said: “I want all children to be able to grow up physically and mentally well, with access to support quickly and locally when they need it. As part of The Big Ask, I asked children about all aspects of their health and wellbeing. I was shocked and concerned to hear from children as young as 12 who told me that vaping was normalised among their peers – even on school premises.”

Riding the wave of current hysteria, she went on to add: “Both legal and illegal vapes pose risks to children’s health and wellbeing, not least because they are often highly addictive. It is deeply worrying to hear accounts from children who now struggle to concentrate for whole lessons, unable to use their vape. Other children are avoiding using school toilets,

for fear of peer pressure to join in. Schools have been horrified to discover that vapes confiscated from their students contain dangerously high levels of chemicals like nickel and lead, exposure which can affect the central nervous system and brain development.”

The Children’s Commissioner’s report is selective in its use of data and makes some bold claims:

  • Current evidence suggests that vapes carry a risk to health”
  • “There is additional concern regarding vapes containing nicotine, as a single e-liquid pod can contain as much nicotine as a pack of tobacco cigarettes
  • Disposables “can be used up in only a few hours of continuous use

The report veers off into plain, unadulterated stupid when it states: “The flavours used in vapes are also potentially harmful. Research from the Royal College of Physicians concluded that the vapour from flavoured vapes can be more cytotoxic than unflavoured vapour. For example, Diacetyl, a flavour often used in popcorn, is safe for oral consumption but when heated and inhaled in large doses over long periods of time, can cause irreversible bronchitis.”

Anyone with a passing interest in vaping knows that diacetyl is a banned component in the UK and no e-liquid containing it will be registered by the MHRA.

In a story running alongside this news, David Strain, associate professor in cardiometabolic health at the University of Exeter and chair of the BMA Board of Science, told the Financial Times: “There is no reason to produce flavoured vapes with bright packaging designs, unless it is to appeal to children.”

The report concludes by demanding the UK the Government should consider adopting the following measures:

  1. Vapes should be sold in plain packaging.
  2. Age-of-sale signage on vaping products should be mandated in the same way that it currently is for cigarette products.
  3. The Government should ban the vaping industry from selling ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to under 18s.
  4. The new Illicit Vape Enforcement Squad should update local Trading Standards to make on-the-spot fines and fixed penalty notices for shops selling vapes to under 18s illegally easier.
  5. A ban on disposable vapes.


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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