A charity has revealed children as young as seven have been in possession of vaping products in a call for tighter restrictions on advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes.
In response to a Scottish Government consultation, Ash (Taking Action on Smoking and Health) Scotland want more restrictions on spaces such billboards and bus shelters that carry vape advertisements as well as limiting promotional or sponsorship activities and distribution of samples.
The call comes as evidence has emerged that an upsurge in young people are using e-cigarettes and vaping products.
The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (Salsus) in 2018 showed that vape use by young people has increased since 2015. The number of 13-year-old non-smokers who have tried vapes has risen from 13% to 15% and for 15-year-olds, it rose from 24% in 28%.
Ash Scotland is concerned that young people are finding these products attractive due to the flavours they come in and the colourful packaging.
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: “With alarming reports about children in Scotland as young as seven possessing vaping products, which often have flavours, colouring and packaging attractive to young people, we strongly support the important precautionary steps proposed by the Scottish Government to curb the promotion of recreational e-cigarettes to protect youngsters from being lured into experimenting.”
A recent report for the World Health Organisation (WHO) also showed that young people who use e-cigarettes are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future.
Ms Duffy added: “Long-term harms associated with using vapes are currently unknown. There are five, very different kinds of e-cigarette devices and as many as 8,000 different liquid combinations, and we don’t know what’s in these new and fast-developing products. We do know, however, that most vapes contain nicotine, which can be highly addictive.
“We owe it to forthcoming generations in Scotland to restrict the advertising and promotion of vaping products now to reduce the risk of youngsters gambling away their future health through using vaping products which we know are not harmless.”