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Blog - Vaping and e-cigarettes, what can parents do?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


Vaping and e-cigarettes

You will no doubt have seen that vaping and e-cigarettes have been a key topic in the national news in recent weeks, specifically underage users and vaping in schools.

With manufacturers creating sweet-smelling flavours which are hooking children as young as ten years of age, UK health leaders are now trying to raise awareness of the dangers that vapes and e-cigarettes can do to developing minds, and also the potential health crisis that our young people face as a result of long-term use.


Data recently published by NHS Digital, shows that the proportion of 11 to 15-year-olds classed as current e-cigarette users increased to 9% in 2021, up from 6% in 2018. While the proportion of smokers in the same age group has dropped to 3%, the research also suggests that one in five 15-year-old girls are vapers.


What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapour produced by an electronic vaporiser (vape) or e-cigarette. The vapour can contain nicotine and other substances which is very concerning. Furthermore, there have been reports of young people becoming unwell and needing medical attention after using vapes.


As with cigarettes, shops and other retailers cannot sell vaping items to people under the age of 18. This includes the sale of vaping equipment, including liquids and devices. It is, therefore, clear that young people under the age of 18 should not be purchasing or be in possession of alternative nicotine products such as vapes. Whilst the sale of items as detailed above is illegal, students have reported to us that they are able to acquire devices online or from older siblings, friends and unfortunately in some instances even parents/carers. Vaping is to help people quit smoking and should not be used by people under 18 or non-smokers – particularly as the long-term harms are unknown.


The Fountain Head House School drugs and alcohol policy specifies that smoking paraphernalia, including vapes and e-cigarettes, are not permitted on the school site. We believe that knowledge is power and so we ensure that age appropriate education and support on smoking, drugs, alcohol and solvents is provided through our PSHE curriculum.

What can parents do?

  • Know and understand the risks presented by electronic cigarettes and vapes.

  • Be able to spot them in their possessions. Some versions can look like pens, usb sticks etc as per the image at the bottom of this letter.

  • Understand what the risks are, real particularly as the availability of these products has grown significantly in a short period of time.

  • Recognise that this is an issue locally and nationally.

  • Talk to your child openly about these risks to ensure that they are well informed and have clear guidance that these products are to be avoided.

  • Get in touch with your GP if you require medical guidance regarding your child.

  • Get in touch with the school if you have concerns and we can help to try to provide support or point you in the right direction.


What steps can I take if my child has used electronic cigarettes/vapes?

Unfortunately, some young people may develop an addiction to nicotine and may see vaping as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Sometimes young people, through peer pressure or through curiosity, may try vaping.


Please see further information on the links below which may be helpful for you.

https://ash.org.uk/fact-sheets/

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/e-cigarettes.html

https://ecigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.pdf

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