It’s time to protect our children from risks of vaping, says Steve Barclay MP
There is no doubt vaping is safer than smoking and can be a brilliant tool to help adult smokers kick the habit.
But like a lot of Sun readers, I am deeply concerned by the dangers vaping poses to our children.
These are driven by unscrupulous marketing campaigns directed at youngsters and flavourings you’d expect to find in a sweet shop.
It’s hardly surprising that one in five young people have tried e-cigarettes, meaning millions of children have been exposed to harm.
We have already set out ambitious plans to prevent children who turn 14 or younger this year from ever legally being sold cigarettes – one of the most significant and ambitious public health interventions in a generation.
But we need to go further, faster, to secure a safer future for the next generation, and I am determined to arrest this trend before it gets any worse.
That is why we are today launching a consultation to tackle youth vaping alongside creating a smoke free generation – and we need your help.
We aren’t doing this alone. I’m pleased to say this consultation has received widespread support, and the Scottish government, Welsh government, and the Northern Ireland Department of Health have all given it their backing and agreed to a joint consultation.
We’re protecting future generations right across the UK.
I want to hear from parents and carers worried about their children, teachers determined to help their students buck the habit, and anyone else who wants to take action.
We are asking for your views on several bold options.
We propose restricting vape flavours to ones less attractive to youngsters, and exploring whether increasing the price of vapes will reduce the number of young people using them.
We will also consider regulating packaging to restrict child-friendly colours and cartoons, and displays so vapes are kept out of sight and away from other products that appeal to them, like sweets.
Finally, we will consider restricting the sale of disposable vapes – which are favoured by children and are also incredibly harmful to the environment.
We need your feedback to help shape these policies and protect future generations.
I know we need to strike a balance between protecting our children and supporting adult smokers to quit.
But I cannot ignore the threat these products pose to children.
Our ambitious approach on smoking and vaping will ease pressure on the NHS, protect future generations, and ultimately save tens of thousands of lives.
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