UK enacts vape ban for teenagers: a decision to protect future health
The UK enacts a ban on vape for teens, and the public has various opinions on the viability of the ban
The UK government officially announced last week that it will ban the sale of vape to young people under the age of 18, a decision aimed at reducing vape use among young people and taking a more proactive approach to protecting the health of children and adolescents.
In recent years, vape use among young people in the UK has shown a significant upward trend. According to the ASH Health watch report, the proportion of 11 to 17 year old using vape increased from 1.3 per cent to 7.6 per cent between 2014 and 2023.
Research suggests that the nicotine component of vape may cause long-term negative effects on adolescent brain development, including attention deficits and reduced learning ability. In addition, early exposure to nicotine may also increase the probability that teens will smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.
Vape shop owners have mixed views on the ban. One shop owner said that while he understands the government’s good intentions, he is concerned that it will affect their business and may lead to teenagers purchasing vape products through illegal channels. “We have to find a balance to protect the youth without hurting legitimate businesses.”
Another shop owner expressed support for the ban. “If this helps to protect children’s health, then as part of the community we should share this responsibility,” he said.
Public reaction to the ban has been mostly positive, with many parents and educators expressing support for the government’s decision. “We need to radically reduce the opportunities for youth to smoke,” said one parent, “and banning the sale of vape is a step in the right direction.”
In making this decision, the government drew on a wide range of scientific studies and statistics that show the risks that vape pose to young people’s health, as well as the potential impact of early smoking habits on long-term health.
The UK is not the first country to take such measures. Singapore and Thailand, for example, have banned the sale and use of vape altogether, while the US has raised the legal age for purchasing vape in a number of states, as well as banning vape flavours aimed at the youth market.
Through the range of measures, the UK hopes to build a healthier future, reduce vape use amongst young people and have a positive impact on public health across the country. The combined efforts of government and communities, as well as learning from success stories across the globe, will be key to achieving this goal.