Teenage drug and cigarette consumption declines as vaping gains popularity – figures

Teenage drug and cigarette consumption declines as vaping gains popularity – figures

Teenage drug and cigarette consumption declines as vaping gains popularity – figures

Drug use and smoking are on the decline among high school pupils, but vaping is on the rise, according to a new report.

New data from NHS Digital suggests that around 9% of 11-15 year olds in England smoke e-cigarettes.

This is an increase from 6% in 2018, the last time the data was released.

A prominent children’s doctor said he was “deeply troubled” by the increase in children and young people picking up e-cigarettes.

Respiratory disease consultant pediatrician Dr. Mike McKean said children are “targeted by e-cigarette companies with bright packs, exotic flavors and enticing names” and no action “we run the risk of having generations of babies. addicted to nicotine “.

E-cigarette use is more common among older pupils, according to the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England 2021 report.

Only 1% of 11-year-olds reported using e-cigarettes compared to 18% of 15-year-olds.

And current e-cigarette use for 15-year-old girls has increased from 10% in 2018 to 21% in 2021

Meanwhile, the percentage of pupils who declared themselves to be smokers dropped from 5% in 2018 to 3% in 2021.

And 12% said they had never smoked, a decrease from 16% in 2018, according to the survey of secondary school pupils, mostly aged 11 to 15.

Earlier this year, data from the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) showed that the percentage of children who vape is on the rise, with many being influenced by social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.

The study, shared exclusively with the PA news agency, also found that children were increasingly drawn to the new disposable e-cigarettes which cost around £ 5 each and come in a wide range of fruity flavors.

About 6% of pupils said they drank alcohol at least once a week, which is unchanged between the two surveys.

In 2021, 40% of pupils said they had ever drunk alcohol, compared to 44% in 2018, and just over a third (34%) of pupils said they drank alcohol at least a few times a year.

Older pupils were more likely to report having been drunk in the past month than almost no 11-year-olds.

Among the small number who claimed to be currently drinkers, pupils were more likely to report drinking at home than in 2018, and two-thirds said they usually drank with their parents.

Meanwhile, around 18% of pupils reported having ever used drugs, down from 24% in 2018.

Cannabis is the drug that pupils are most likely to take, with 6% saying they took it in 2021, down from 8% in 2018.

Those who reported taking class A drugs have remained between about 2% and 3% since 2010.

The survey also asked the children about their well-being, life satisfaction, happiness and anxiety.

Girls reported lower well-being measures than boys.

Nearly half (46%) of the 15-year-old girls reported a low level of happiness and 51% reported a high level of anxiety the previous day.

About 57% of young people who recently smoked, drank alcohol and took drugs reported low levels of life satisfaction compared with 35% who had recently done just one of these things and 18% who had not recently smoked, drunk or taken drugs, NHS Digital said.

Commenting on the report, Dr McKean, who is also Vice President of Policy at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said: “As a pediatrician I am deeply troubled by the increase in children and young people taking e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes remain a relatively new product and their long-term effects are still unknown.

“It is clear that children and young people are being targeted by e-cigarette companies with bright packaging, exotic flavors and enticing names.

“Disposable e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with children and young people and are easily accessible at newsstands and candy stores. Nowadays, there is a vaporizer shop on almost every major street.

“These companies are simply interested in ‘hooking up’ children and young people for profit – there is absolutely no thought or concern for their health and wellbeing.

“The time has come for the UK government to take action by introducing simple e-cigarette packaging and e-liquid packs that are both nicotine and non-nicotine.

“Stricter restrictions on advertising of vaping products are also needed to ensure that these products are only advertised for their medicinal purpose as an aid to reducing smoking rather than a fun and colorful lifestyle product.

“If we don’t act soon, we run the risk of having generations of nicotine addicted children.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive Officer of ASH, added: “The NHS Digital survey shows the same increase in child vaping as the ASH data released in July.

“Schools, parents and local authorities are looking for help and ASH has just published a guide on how to deal with youth vaping, available on our website.

“But while further action is needed on vaping, it is still only a small minority of children who vape and it is encouraging to see that the NHS Digital survey finds that smoking among young people has continued to decline, as smoking is far more harmful than vaping. “.

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