Posted: Sat 9th Sep 2023

Two thirds of year 10 pupils in Wales who vape daily show signs of nicotine dependency

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Sep 9th, 2023


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A concerning trend has emerged from a snapshot survey of Year 7 and 10 pupils in a selection of Welsh secondary schools, according to Public Health Wales.

The study found that approximately nine to ten per cent of Year 10 pupils are daily vapers.

Alarmingly, among these daily users, around two thirds have shown signs of moderate or high nicotine dependency.

This rising dependency is not without consequences. Schools have reported an increase in issues related to vape use, leading to problematic behaviours among students.

Over the past two years, headteachers have observed a surge in vape-related incidents, prompting them to monitor specific areas, such as toilets, for vaping activities.

Furthermore, there has been a notable rise in school exclusions linked to vaping in the previous academic year.

In response to the escalating reports of vaping among students, Public Health Wales convened an Incident Response Group (IRG) in August.

The IRG aims to delve deeper into the vaping issue among young individuals, pinpoint the causes, and devise recommendations to counter potential harms.

In the coming month, Public Health Wales is set to release guidance on vaping for schools, detailing the health risks, legal aspects, and recommended school responses to vaping incidents.

The IRG, which comprises experts from various fields, including the Welsh Government, health boards, and school representatives, will soon publish a report detailing the evidence on vaping among Welsh youth and suggesting effective measures to combat the rise in vaping and its associated harms.

While vapes offer certain health benefits to smokers transitioning away from traditional cigarettes, they present no advantages to non-smokers, especially the youth.

The potential for nicotine addiction from vaping poses significant risks to young people’s education, behaviour, and overall well-being.

The long-term health impacts of vaping remain uncertain, raising concerns about future health repercussions for today’s youth.

Trading Standards are already aware that there are many illegal products available in shops that don’t comply with current safety regulations.

These products may put young people at additional risk from unknown, possibly more harmful, contaminants, and gaining an understanding of what vaping products children are using and how they are acquiring them is one of the IRG’s central aims.

Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales, said: “The vaping industry has expanded rapidly over the last decade.”

“Products are consistently marketed in ways that younger people find appealing with brightly-coloured packaging, modern designs, and flavours that mimic confectionary products.’

“As a new and rapidly evolving product, the risks of vaping are not yet fully understood but it is already clear they are of no benefit to non-smokers and young people.”

“Evidence shows there has been a marked increase in reports of regular and dependent vaping among secondary school age children, and this is affecting their ability to learn.”

‘The Incident Response Group will continue to gather information relating to the issue in Wales and offer leadership in mitigating further harms to public health.”

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