There are different ways to stop smoking, but one of the most popular is vaping. However, despite being introduced as a harm reduction measure to help smokers, health experts are now warning that disposal vapes – particularly those in bright colors – could be a risk to teens.
A group of doctors in the UK has called for a total ban on disposal vapes, partly because they are bad for the environment, but also over concerns they could damage young people’s lungs.
It’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes to children, but a huge number still avoid this law. In the UK, a YouGov survey shows that 11.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds have vaped, up from 7.7% last year. Around 15% of 16 or 17-year-olds and 18% of 18-year-olds are also currently vapers.
Disposable vapes in particular are popular with teenagers, as they are cheap and easy to get hold of. They also come in bright colors and a variety of flavors. In fact, health experts have accused companies of targeting young people on purpose by making vapes more appealing.
For example, Juul recently had to pay $40 million in a lawsuit in the US after being accused of intentionally marketing its products to teenagers.
The state of North Carolina accused the company of deliberately using sweet flavors and small devices to sell to younger consumers whilst delivering the highly addictive substance of nicotine. It also accused Juul of targeting kids in many of its advertising campaigns, as well as for selling products online and not doing enough to stop underage teenagers from buying from its website.
A recent BBC investigation found that many of the vapes being confiscated in UK schools contained unsafe levels of nickel, lead, and chromium, which could damage children’s lungs.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) now says the UK should ban disposable e-cigarettes to protect kids. The vice president of the RCPCH said: “Youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic among children, and I fear that if action is not taken, we will find ourselves sleepwalking into a crisis.”