In recent years, there has been a worrying increase in the number of school children in England who are using e-cigarettes. According to the latest data from NHS Digital, 9% of 11 to 15 year olds are currently using e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018. What’s even more concerning is that over half (57%) of regular e-cigarette users are purchasing them from shops. These statistics, revealed in “The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021” report, shed light on a growing issue that demands attention.
The Influence of Others and the Role of Shops
One of the key findings of the report is that a significant percentage of regular e-cigarette users said they received their e-cigarettes from other people. Among them, friends were the most common source (45%). This highlights the influence of social circles and the need for greater awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes among peers. However, it’s important to note that the rise in e-cigarette use is not solely driven by peer influence. The report indicates that the availability of e-cigarettes in shops plays a substantial role.
In 2018, only 29% of e-cigarette purchases were made from shops. However, this number rose significantly to 57% in 2021. Among the various types of shops, newsagents emerged as the most common location for purchasing e-cigarettes (41%), followed by specialized e-cigarette shops (27%), supermarkets (13%), garage shops (10%), and other shops (10%). Surprisingly, online purchases accounted for just a quarter of all e-cigarette sales. This shift towards physical stores highlights the need for stricter regulations and enforcement to prevent underage access to e-cigarettes.
Decline in Cigarette Smoking
While the rise in e-cigarette use is a cause for concern, the report also reveals a positive trend: a decrease in cigarette smoking among school children. In 2018, 5% of pupils claimed to be current smokers, but this number has dropped to 3% in 2021. This decline suggests that efforts to combat traditional smoking habits are yielding results. However, the rise in e-cigarette use among regular smokers raises new challenges and underscores the importance of addressing both issues simultaneously.
Gender Differences and Age Patterns
The report highlights some significant gender and age disparities in e-cigarette use. Among 15 year olds, a staggering 18% were found to be current e-cigarette users. Additionally, there was a notable increase in e-cigarette use among 15 year old girls, rising from 10% in 2018 to 21% in 2021, which means approximately one in five girls of this age group are using e-cigarettes. These findings emphasize the need for targeted interventions and education programs that address the specific concerns and risks faced by different demographic groups.
The Role of Physical Stores in Underage Vaping
The recent research conducted by age verification solution provider 1account offers valuable insights into the purchasing habits of children and young people. The study reveals that those who buy disposable vapes illegally are more likely to do so in physical bricks and mortar stores rather than online. This information is crucial for policymakers and regulatory bodies to design effective strategies that curb underage access to e-cigarettes.
The rise in e-cigarette use among school children in England is a pressing issue that demands immediate attention. The statistics presented in “The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021” report paint a concerning picture of the current situation. Peer influence, coupled with the easy availability of e-cigarettes in physical shops, has contributed to the increase in usage rates. While cigarette smoking has seen a decline, the surge in e-cigarette use among regular smokers poses new challenges.
To address this issue effectively, a multi-faceted approach is necessary. Stricter regulations should be implemented to prevent underage access to e-cigarettes, and awareness campaigns targeting both children and their social circles should be intensified. Furthermore, gender-specific and age-targeted interventions are crucial to address the varying patterns of e-cigarette use.
- Q: Why is the rise in vaping among school children in England concerning? A: The increase in vaping among school children in England is concerning because it poses health risks and can lead to nicotine addiction at a young age.
- Q: What are the most common sources of e-cigarettes for school children? A: According to the report, friends are the most common source of e-cigarettes for school children who use them regularly.
- Q: Where are e-cigarettes most commonly purchased from? A: The report reveals that newsagents are the most common type of shop where e-cigarettes are purchased, followed by specialized e-cigarette shops, supermarkets, garage shops, and other shops.
- Q: Has cigarette smoking decreased among school children in England? A: Yes, the report indicates a decline in cigarette smoking among school children, with a decrease from 5% in 2018 to 3% in 2021.
- Q: Are there any gender differences in e-cigarette use among school children? A: Yes, the report shows that e-cigarette use among 15 year old girls has increased significantly, with approximately one in five girls in this age group currently using e-cigarettes.