Potential Vaping Ban in UK Could Lead Youth to Smoke, Study Finds

According to a study, more young people would turn to smoking if vaping were either made illegal or became too expensive because of taxation designed to dissuade its use.

The younger generation sees smoking and vaping as “interchangeable,” but they are also aware of the dangers of the latter. Despite being educated, experts believe that even if the government outlawed disposable vapes, they could still obtain them illegally on the black market.

The study polled 29 individuals, ages 16 to 20, on their use of disposable vapes, their experiences with them, and their opinions on the subject. 

In the UK, according to the Conservatives and Labour, there would be tighter rules on tobacco sales and limited marketing of electronic cigarettes to minors. The response to this among 2,587 teenagers polled (aged 11 to 17) was that the percentage of vapers climbed from 0.8% in 2013 to 7.6% in 2018, a 2.8% rise. In this age group, 4.5% of persons vape daily, compared to those who use e-cigarettes less often than once a week. The Action on Smoking and Health conducted the poll.

Disposable vapes were appealing because they were inexpensive, accessible, and visually appealing in terms of their name, taste, form, and color. Many young people practiced both smoking and vaping tobacco, and depending on the situation, they perceived no difference between the two. 

The scientists do note, however, that there is a common misconception about the relative risks associated with smoking versus vaping. Vaping was a common way for young people to experiment, and many of them claimed to be using it to manage stress and anxiety. In general, peer groups supported vaping as a social activity.

Young people’s use of disposable vapes may be reduced, according to the report, if marketing and packaging options are restricted and the age of sale is adequately enforced. Yet, evidence suggests that these programs might have significant unintended consequences, such as a rise in underage tobacco use.