Once seen as an alternative for smokers, vaping among young people in Nottingham is becoming increasingly common. FMB Radio’s Jessica Milner speaks to young people in Nottingham about their vaping habits.
Once seen as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes,it has quickly turned into an epidemic among young people, who would never have previously considered smoking before. The brightly coloured disposable vaping packaging on products targets children and young people the most, consequently leading to calls from health experts for them to be banned.
Recently, the government has proposed such bans, including restrictions to child friendly flavours and brightly coloured packaging; whilst still acknowledging the usefulness of vapes for adult smokers wanting to quit. The proposed ban on disposable vapes would commence in January 2024 with a sellout period for shops to sell their stock. This seems to be popular as a recent YouGov poll suggests that 63% of 18-24 year olds support a ban on disposable vapes.
FMB Radio looked into the issue of vaping in Nottingham and found that in the city, around 16.5% of Adults smoked in 2021, (above the national average of 13%). Therefore, banning vaping outright would affect those wanting to quit smoking negatively. However the negative effects of vaping among young people is still prevalent. In 2020, a 16-year-old boy from Arnold nearly died when he had to be treated for hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) caused by his use of e-cigarettes, according to the Nottingham Post.
To gain more insight into vaping amongst young people, we spoke to two students at the University of Nottingham, who have vaped since they were young.
Joe, aged 20, has vaped since he was in school; but has recently decided to quit. Grace, aged 20, started whilst she was in her first year of university and still vapes regularly:
Why did you start vaping?
Joe: “I started vaping to quit smoking and it worked well by switching out smoking for vapes. However, I ended up vaping more than I was originally smoking.”
Grace: “I started about a year ago. I started vaping on nights out and then it just slowly carried into every day.”
Before you vaped, did you ever consider smoking?
Grace: “I did not.”
Grace, have you ever thought about quitting?
Grace: “I definitely have because it’s obviously not good for you, but I’ve never seriously tried.”
Joe, why have you recently decided to quit?
Joe: “I recently quit because my friend’s lung collapsed due to vaping and that was enough of a sign to say I shouldn’t do it, so I switched to nicotine pouches.”
Do you think disposable vapes are attractive and marketed to children?
Joe: “They are definitely marketed towards children with their bright colours and flavours. Also, some of them are made to different shapes like water bottles and ice cream that have flashing lights, which is obviously for children.”
Grace: “Yes, definitely with their bright colours and fun flavours.”
Do you think disposable vapes should be banned?
Joe: “Yes, they should be banned because the strength and ease of access is making it a lot more appealing to vape so it makes more people get into it.”
Grace: “Honestly, no. I don’t think that’s the solution because they banned the 3500 puff ones and corner shops still sell them under the counter, so if they were banned, people would just find new ways to sell them.”
The interviews we conducted show the different opinions of two young people regarding recent initiatives to ban disposable vapes. However, the dangers are becoming more evident as shown by Joe’s friend whose lung collapsed, which drove him to quit for good.
The issue of youth vaping remains to be dealt with. Bans of disposable vapes by the government is hoped to push young people to quit the habit.
Looking to quit smoking and/or vaping? Please see below:
Nottinghamshire County Council: https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/care/health-and-wellbeing/stopping-smoking
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