Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Vaping: The Rising Trend and Public Health Wales’ Call for Regulation in UK

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Public Health Wales (PHW) is urging for stringent regulations on vapes, akin to those on tobacco, amidst growing concerns over their popularity among young people and environmental impact. The call includes suggestions for plain packaging and removal of vapes from shop displays.

Growing Concerns

  • Youth Appeal: PHW is alarmed by the increasing number of young people vaping, particularly those who have never smoked. The appeal seems to be driven by enticing flavors and colorful designs that are attractive to children and teenagers.
  • Health and Environmental Risks: The agency is worried about the health effects of vaping, which, despite being safer than smoking, remains largely unexplored. Additionally, disposable vapes pose environmental concerns.

Voices from the Young Generation

Teenagers from Bridgend share their perspectives:

  • Imogen, 17, notes the social pressure to vape among peers.
  • Taryn, 17, observes the trend as a “fad,” with many drawn to exotic flavors like “unicorn rainbow bubble-gum.”

Industry Perspective

Celtic Vapours, a vape store chain in South Wales, agrees with restricting youth access but argues that current regulations are not effectively enforced. They believe more stringent enforcement, rather than new rules, can curb underage vaping.

The Government’s Stance

Both the Welsh and UK governments are contemplating a ban on disposable vapes. The UK government’s recent consultation sought opinions on further measures to discourage vaping among young people. These include limiting flavors and colors of vapes and regulating their display in shops.

PHW’s Recommendations

PHW proposes that vapes should be stored behind counters and not displayed openly, mirroring tobacco product regulations. This approach has been effective in reducing smoking uptake among young people. The agency supports the UK government’s consultation on standardizing vape packaging and limiting their visibility to children.

What’s Next?

The UK government is considering various proposals, including regulating how vapes are displayed and sold, to align them with tobacco product laws. This move aims to reverse the increasing trend of youth vaping and protect long-term health.

For further details on this developing story, visit the BBC News article.

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