Fears Blackpool teens getting hooked on vaping

Blackpool's top doctor has repeated his concerns about the safety of vaping particularly among young people.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 5:00 pm

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the resort's Health and Wellbeing Board a "significant number of young people" in the resort were using e-cigarettes.

He said: "My concern has always been that it's fine if you're a 50-year-old and want to switch from tobacco.

"My concern is young people starting on e-cigarettes who have never smoked. Are they starting an addiction?

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Is vaping safe?

"E-cigarettes are marketed at young people, for example, flavours such as bubblegum are not aimed at 50-year-olds.

"Are we re-normalising the habit of tobacco addiction?"

Dr Rajpura said there was not enough long-term evidence to demonstrate whether e-cigarettes were safe or not.

He added: "We will continue to keep an eye on that."

Public Health England has said vaping is “far less harmful than smoking tobacco.”

The latest statistics on smoking in adolescence from 2014/2015 indicated 13.4 per cent of 15-year- olds in Blackpool were current smokers at the time compared to 8.2 per cent nationally, and nearly 34 per cent of Blackpool respondents had tried e-cigarettes or vaping compared to 18.4 per cent in England.

Dr Rajpura's latest health report for Blackpool warns teenagers who smoke are almost three times as likely to suffer "short-term health consequences such as shortness of breath" than teens who do not.

They are also more at risk of developing long-term health problems while "early signs of heart disease and stroke can be found in adolescents who smoke."

A pilot programme, including the recruitment of a children and young people's stop smoking advisor, has looked at the best ways of supporting young people to give up smoking.