Taskforce created to tackle vaping amongst children and young people in Furness

A new Vaping Taskforce Group has been set up by Westmorland and Furness Council in response to the growing concerns around the increased use of ‘vapes’ amongst young people.

Schools in the Furness area are seeing an increase in the number of young people being found in possession of vapes on school premises, some of which have been found to be non-compliant with regulations or containing other drugs such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Vaping Taskforce Group includes Cumbria Police, Morecambe Health Trust, and members of Furness Education Consortium.

The group encourages parents and carers to proactively speak to their children about the use of vapes and explain the risks and dangers associated with them.

There are concerns around vaping due to the exposure to some toxins, of which the long-term effects are not yet known. Most vapes also contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance found to be riskier for young people than adults as evidence suggests the developing brain is more sensitive to its addictive effects.

It is also a criminal offence to sell vapes to persons under the age of 18 years, or purchase them on behalf of under 18’s.  Anyone found breaking these rules risk being prosecuted, and a possible maximum £2,500 fine.

NHS figures show an increase in the number of 11-15 year olds e-cigarette usage from 6% in 2018 up to 9% in 2021. This rises to 18% for 15 year-olds.

In addition to this, Trading Standards report a third of vape products sold in the UK are not compliant with regulations and have been found to have over-capacity tank sizes or a higher than permitted concentration of nicotine.

Trading Standards have pledged to continue its underage test purchasing exercises to check traders adhere to the strict laws in place to restrict young people from buying vapes.

Cllr Patricia Bell, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Care, said: “It is worrying to see the reported increase in children using vapes when little is known about the long-term side effects. I welcome this taskforce and would encourage parents to speak to their children to educate them around the potential dangers.”

Cllr Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services, said: “We are concerned about the increase in ‘vaping’ amongst children, which is why we have launched the Vaping Taskforce Group. We currently have several operations in place to target retailers who have been suspected of selling to under 18s and will continue these exercises to do what we can to protect children and young people.”

To report the sale of illegal vapes or the sale to minors, please visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

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