Luton council shares anti-vape campaign as number of teens using e-cigarettes doubles
Luton Borough Council has shared an anti-vaping campaign aimed at 12 to 15-year-olds after figures show 107 per cent increase in pupils using vapes compared to two years ago.
The 2023 Schools Health Education Unit survey for Luton showed an increase from 14 per cent in 2021, to 29% of pupils responding that they had used an e-cigarette at least once or twice. This increase in youth vaping has come at the same time that cheap, brightly coloured disposable vapes have arrived on the UK market.
The council is highlighting the dangers of using vapes with nicotine, as evidence suggests that adolescent brain are more sensitive to its effects and could get quickly addicted to nicotine. Short-term effects of vaping can include headaches, dizziness, sleep problems and coughing.
Councillor Khtija Malik, portfolio holder for public health, said: “We are very worried about the increasing number of children who have never smoked but are trying vapes for the first time. We appreciate that children may vape because they think it looks cool or due to peer pressure, but we want them to be aware of the risks so that they stop and think twice about even trying a vape.
“We know that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, and can be used as an effective way to help adults quit smoking for good, but that doesn’t mean it is harmless, and as yet the long-term effects are unknown.
“So our advice to children and young people is: if you don’t smoke, don’t start to vape!”
All disposable vape pens that exceed 600 puffs, containing 2ml of liquid and 2 per cent nicotine content, are classed as illegal. Nationally, around one in three shops are selling illegal vapes.
The campaign’s posters will be displayed on digital screens, social media, buses and bus shelters to show children the risks of vaping and raise awareness of illegal vapes. Schools will get toolkits and posters to help them educate students about the consequences of vaping.
Councillor Malik added: “We really want to work with parents, schools, and youth organisations to help spread the word about the dangers of children vaping or there is a risk we could have generations of children addicted to nicotine.”