According to a recent ASH survey, the threat of underage vaping in Great Britain has remained consistently low. Just 1.6% of 11 to 18-year-olds were reported as being regular vapers. The research also explored the reasons behind youth vaping and showed that young people in Britain do not try vaping because “it’s cool”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is an anti-tobacco campaign charity. The organisation has published numerous surveys into e-cigarettes and vaping attitudes. The latest research delves into the threat of youth vaping and the reasons some young people try it. These figures have been updated from last year’s research which showed that youth uptake of vaping was low.

Why young people try vaping

In the USA, teen vaping is reported as being a real issue, with kids apparently taking up vaping because it is seen as ‘super-cool’. Amid this negative coverage from across the pond, there have been concerns that this vaping trend could spread to the UK.

The results showed that young people in Britain do not try vaping because it’s cool. In fact, Just 0.5% of young vapers who had never smoked were doing so for this reason.

At 71%, the most popular reason by far was ‘just to give it a try’. 10% said they tried it because they liked the flavours, while 11% did it join in with others.

Deborah Arnott said,

“To date there is little sign that vaping is the “super-cool” phenomenon among young people here that it is said to be in the USA.”

What proportion of young people vape?

The survey explored the percentage of young people who had tried vaping and those who were regular vapers. The results showed that 15.4% of 11 to 18-year-olds had tried vaping in 2019, compared with 16% last year.

This figure is calculated from those who have simply tried vaping and not regular vapers. Regular youth vaping (vaping at least once a week) has decreased from 1.7% to 1.6% in the past 12 months. Moreover, just 0.6% were reported as vaping daily.

The survey also uncovered that just 5.5% of non-smoking young people had ever tried an e-cigarette and 0.1% were vaping regularly.

The Gateway Theory

The gateway theory is often brandished around in the vaping world. This theory suggests that young people try vaping and then move on to traditional cigarettes. This has been quashed by experts many times.

This survey reiterates the falsehood in the claims as it shows that since 2010, smoking prevalence of 16 to 18-year-olds has decreased from 18.1% to 12%.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said,

“Smoking prevalence among children and young adults in Britain has fallen substantially since 2010, which doesn’t indicate that vaping has been a gateway into smoking.”

The figures from the study are encouraging and show that youth uptake of vaping remains low in Great Britain. With some 11 to 18-year-olds trying vaping, it’s important to know why young people try vaping, even if it is a small proprtion. The results are also reassuring in this area because those who are trying vaping tend to be doing so just to give it a try.

Chris Green, Totally Wicked smoking cessation lead said,

“It’s great to see that e-cigarettes are primarily reaching their target audience and rarely getting into the hands of those who they are not intended for. Not only does this recent research shows that youth uptake of vaping is low, various pieces of other research indicate that uptake from non-vaping adults is also negligible. Totally Wicked will continue to remain vigilant in ensuring that our products are not available for under 18s.”

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