Fears Blackpool teens getting hooked on vaping
Blackpool's top doctor has repeated his concerns about the safety of vaping particularly among young people.
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?
"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.