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Number of kids hospitalised by vaping QUADRUPLES in a year – as experts fear crisis will get worse

Number of kids hospitalised by vaping QUADRUPLES in a year – as top expert fears crisis will only get worse

  • There were 32 cases of under-18s being hospitalised due to e-cigarettes in 2022
  • The figure is up from just eight in the year before, according to NHS statistics
  • Experts have repeated demands for a crackdown on vaping on back of figures

The number of British kids being hospitalised by vaping has quadrupled in a year, according to data.

Some 32 instances of under-18s needing medical treatment for e-cigarette-related issues were recorded in 2022.

This was up from just eight in the year before, NHS statistics show. 

Experts have repeated their demands for a crackdown on vaping on the back of the figures — warning the figure will only get higher.

Prevalence of the gadgets — which can contain as much nicotine as 50 cigarettes — has doubled among kids in less than a decade.

Calls for tougher action come amid soaring vaping rates have doubled among children over the past decade

Despite it being illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under-18s, one in 10 secondary school pupils are now regular users.

Almost every high street now has a designated vape shop, with e-cigarettes sold for as little as £5.

Unlike tobacco, however, the gadgets don’t need to be hidden behind shutters. 

Gadgets are often sold in snazzy colours and with child-friendly names and flavours, like bubble-gum and strawberry milkshake.

Marketing of the devices has been likened to that of alcopops.

The figures on hospital admissions in kids came from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by LBC. 

NHS Digital, which supplied the data, did not state whether all 32 admissions were from different children.

It means some of the cases could have been the same child who required hospitalisation more than once.

None of the conditions that the children needed treatment for were shared through the FOI.

But they could include respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, lung inflammation and, in severe cases, respiratory failure.

The data also shows that admissions due to vaping nearly doubled among all age groups, hitting 344. 

Professor Andrew Bush, an expert in paediatric respirology at Imperial College London, told LBC that youngsters using vapes need to think how the habit will affect their health in the future.

He said: ‘The more people who take things up the more complications you’ll see.

‘So yes, I’m worried about these figures going up, especially among young people.

‘I hope it’ll slow down but I doubt it will without action from the regulators — we are completely out of step with the rest of the world on that front, where e-cigarettes are concerned.’


What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke.

They do not burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide — two of the most harmful parts of tobacco smoke.

The devices work by heating liquid that contains nicotine and flavourings.

They can come as vape pens — which are shaped like a pen or small tube with a tank to store e-liquid and batteries — or pod systems that are rechargeable and often shaped like USB sticks.

Are they dangerous?

E-cigarettes are not risk-free but are believed to cause less harm than smoking.

However, its liquid and vapour contain harmful chemicals that are also found in traditional cigarettes, but it much lower levels. 

These chemicals have been linked to lung inflammation, chronic coughs, shortness of breath and lung disease.

There have also been cases of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire.

Can children buy them?

A law came into force in 2011 which made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under-18s in the UK.

However, there has been reports of children buying them directly from shops.

What action do experts want?

Campaigners have called for more funding to enforce the laws against underage sales, action on child-friendly packaging and labelling, as well as promotion on social media.

And a Government-commissioned review published in June recommended a review of vape flavours to ensure they don’t appeal to young people. 

The paper, by former children’s charity chief Javed Khan, also recommended that cartoons and images on vaping products be banned. 

Have other countries already taken action?

The US Food and Drug Administration banned all products sold by e-cigarette company Juul in June.

It found that there was not enough evidence to confirm its products did not harm public health.

However, the FDA then paused its decision in July while it carries out an additional review on the company’s products. 

The US regulator had already banned fruity flavours of e-cigarettes.


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