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The proportion of young people in London who smoke has halved in over a decade, new figures have revealed, amid a sharp rise in vaping. Analysis by the Standard shows that just 10.1 per cent of people aged between 18 and 24 regularly smoked cigarettes in 2022 - a drop of 10.7 per cent on the figure reported in 2011. Londoners in the age group are the least likely to smoke of any region in England, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Men were slightly more likely (10.7 per cent) to smoke than women (9.4 per cent).
Ministers are reportedly poised to ban single-use vapes, after a series of calls from councils, leading paediatricians and public waste campaigners to make selling the disposable devices illegal on health and environmental grounds. The move could come next week after the government concluded the products are overwhelmingly aimed at children, who then become addicted. It is due to be revealed in a consultation issued by the Department of Health and Social Care next week, though timings could alter, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“This is good news and it puts to rest the often repeated concern that use of e-cigarettes promotes smoking. “E-cigarettes are not only helping smokers quit, they also deflect potential smokers away from cigarettes. “Low-risk nicotine products are the best tool we ever had for getting finally rid of smoking-related cancers, heart and lung disease.”
Banning the marketing of vapes with brightly coloured packaging and branding would protect children from addiction, a senior Labour MP says. Helen Hayes, the shadow minister for children, has proposed a new law aimed at driving down the number of young people vaping. The legal age to purchase and use a vape, is 18 years old. The government is considering issuing fines to shops selling vapes to under 18s illegally.
In the UK population in 2022, 12.9% of people aged 18 years and over, or around 6.4 million people, smoked cigarettes; this is the lowest proportion of current smokers since records began in 2011 based on our estimates from the Annual Population Survey (APS). Of the constituent countries, the lowest proportion of current smokers was in England (12.7%); Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland reported 14.1%, 14.0% and 13.9%, respectively.
The number of young women vaping every day in the UK more than tripled in the last year, according to government figures. Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that one in 15 women (6.7%) aged 16-24 vaped daily in 2022 – up from fewer than one in 50 (1.9%) in 2021 – with young women overtaking their male counterparts for e-cigarette usage. The rise in young women vaping mirrors findings in an NHS survey of school-aged children last year, which showed more than one in five 15-year-old girls using e-cigarettes – hugely outstripping their male counterparts.
Health experts largely agree that vapes - or e-cigarettes - are a good way to wean adults off smoking. This is because it is widely thought that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking because there are far fewer toxins in vapes than in tobacco smoke. But the e-cigarette vapour that is inhaled can still contain chemicals, including nicotine, which is highly addictive. Scientists are looking into the potential health risks of vaping and they say it could be decades before the long-term effects are fully known. It is illegal to sell vapes to children and there are growing concerns that young people are becoming dependent on them.
When it comes to smoking, one of the greatest pressures the NHS faces, the government has admirably embraced e-cigarette use to prevent smoking-related diseases, rather than waiting to treat the cause. However, e-cigarettes are being undermined by an Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) report published at the start of the month. ASH found that more than one in four smokers wrongly believe that vaping is as or more harmful as smoking and the perception is getting worse, not better. [...]
Vaping however does still have an effect on your oral health - and not for the better. Exposing your gums to a hot, drying vapour will increase the risk of gum disease and bad breath, whilst flavoured vapes will increase the amount of sugar in your mouth, potentially causing cavities.
In 2020, an academic paper suggested that more than 80% of U.S. physicians mistakenly thought that nicotine was a carcinogen. The implication of this finding was that perhaps physicians thought vaping (and even nicotine-replacement therapy) to be almost as dangerous as smoking. But physicians are busy people and I suggest that some, maybe most, might have misunderstood the question in the survey and assumed the researchers were asking about smoking.
To test this hypothesis, I surveyed physicians to learn more about their actual knowledge and opinion. Additionally, the UK government is (...)