Gen-Zers are rapidly embracing newer, disposable e-cigarettes because of advertising on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.
Costing roughly £5 apiece, they are more appealing to the younger generation because of their fruity flavors rather than their ashy taste and smell.
In a poll conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and financed in part by the Department of Health, 52% of vaping minors under the age of 18 claimed disposable e-cigarettes were their preferred product.
This indicates a significant increase in comparison to the 7% who expressed the same sentiment in 2020.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: ‘The disposable vapes that have surged in popularity over the last year are brightly coloured, pocket-size products with sweet flavours and sweet names. ‘They are widely available for under a fiver – no wonder they are attractive to children.’
Vaping is on the rise, and it’s being positioned as a “healthyish alternative to tobacco,” which is part of the appeal.
Despite the fact that it is illegal to sell the product to anybody under the age of 18, social media is full of postings from young people showcasing and discussing their favorite new vapes.
Pink lemonade, strawberry banana, and mango are just some of the flavors available, and they look significantly cooler than a package of loose tobacco with a rotting lung on it.
Mrs Arnott noted that more money is required to police the legislation against underage sales and that action is needed on child-friendly packaging and labeling.
‘Online platforms don’t need to wait, they must act now,’ she stressed. ‘The flood of glamourous promotion of vaping on social media, in particular TikTok, is completely inappropriate and they should turn off the tap.’
In March, YouGov conducted a poll of 2,613 youngsters, who answered questions on a variety of topics.
While e-cigarette usage among adults has expanded considerably, the vast majority of adolescents (84 percent) have never ever tried them.
In fact, the great majority of today’s vapers were formerly smokers, so this isn’t a foreign concept to them. However, the research revealed that the percentage of children in that age range who are actively vaping has increased from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022.
The number of people who have ever tried vaping has also increased, from 14 percent in 2020 to 16 percent in 2022, according to a new report.
This year, for the first time, the study addressed young people about their knowledge of the product’s advertising.
Over half (56%) of those ages 11-17 had heard of it, with those who had already smoked a cigarette most likely to be aware (72 percent ).
Instagram and Snapchat came in second and third place, with 45 percent and 31 percent of youngsters naming TikTok as their primary source, respectively (22 percent ).
For the most part, the majority of underage vapers (47 percent) purchased their vapes at a store, while just 10 percent purchased them online.
‘The rise in vaping is concerning and we need to understand what lies behind it such as packaging, accessibility, taste or addictiveness,’ says Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London and author of an upcoming government assessment of e-cigarette data. ‘Our response must be proportionate given smoking is a much bigger risk to the health of young people and good evidence that e-cigarettes can be an effective stop smoking aid. ‘Government should ensure existing laws are enforced and identify where regulations could be extended. ‘However, this must be done alongside securing a much quicker decline in young people taking up smoking and helping more smokers to stop.’