Scots children ‘gambling with long-term health’ as…


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Children as young as 11 have been spotted vaping in primary schools as an Ayrshire MSP raises concerns over a surge in kids using e-cigarettes.

Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown says the brightly-coloured, sweet-flavoured products – with flavours including cotton candy, lemon sherbet and cola bottles – are “luring younger children into nicotine addiction”.

The mum-of-three has spoken of her shock about the rise in teenagers and pre-teens using the devices, adding she is worried about the potential health risks of long-term use on children, whose bodies are still developing.

Mrs Brown said: “At first, I noticed a surge in the use of e-cigarette, or vaping as it is commonly known, amongst teenagers in the street and outside of secondary schools.

“However, in recent months, local constituents have been in touch about children as young as 11 vaping in primary school.

“I was shocked to hear this, as it is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy e-cigarettes in Scotland.

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Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown

“Many vapes are bright and colourful and there are thousands of e-liquid flavours, increasing their attractiveness to children and young people. These devices contain up to 50 cigarettes worth of nicotine at a fraction of the price.”

Mrs Brown said vapes “are not products for children and young people or non-smokers” and are useful only as a potential route towards stopping smoking.

She added: “There is strong evidence that e-cigarettes may create a new route into smoking for young people.

“The UK Surgeon General said this year that youngsters are also uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine.

“These risks include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control.”

The MSP recently met with charity ASH Scotland to discuss her concerns and has also welcomed the Scottish Government’s consultation into additional controls to limit the advertising and promotion of vaping products in Scotland, launched earlier this year.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of health charity ASH Scotland, said putting restrictive advertising and promotions in place would “reduce the risk of youngsters gambling away their long-term health.”

She said: “With many vapes containing toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested and could damage people’s health over time, this is especially alarming for children and young people as their lungs are still growing.

“We strongly support the precautionary steps proposed by the Scottish Government to curb the promotion of recreational vaping products to protect youngsters from being lured into experimenting.

“We owe it to forthcoming generations in Ayr and across Scotland to restrict the advertising and promotion – including at retail points of sale – to limit visibility of vapes.

“These products are not harmless and such measures would help to reduce the risk of youngsters gambling away their long-term health.”

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