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    ‘Youth vaping has plateaued’

    A selection of disposable vapes with bright and colourful packaging are seen in a convenience store, on January 29, 2024 in London, England. Rishi Sunak announces a ban on disposable vapes in the UK as part of government plans to tackle the rise in youth vaping and protect children's health. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

    Rates of youth vaping in the country have plateaued while adult vaping is at an all-time high, shows a report published today (14).

    The latest findings from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH’s) annual surveys of young people and adults find that 11 per cent of British adults vape, up from 9 per cent in 2023. However, rates of vaping among 11–17-year-olds have not increased, with 7.6 per cent of young people vaping occasionally or regularly, and 17 per cent of young people having ever vaped, similar to the levels reported in 2023.

    The new data is being presented at the International E-cigarette Summit in Washington today (14).

    The most recent wave of ASH’s surveys was conducted by YouGov in Feb/March 2024:

    • Adult survey sample:13,266 GB 18+ adults
    • Youth survey sample: 2,349 11–17-year-olds

    Despite the apparent slowing in youth vaping uptake, there is no room for complacency. The proportion of current vaping among 11-17-year-olds is still significantly up from pre-pandemic levels (7.6 per cent in 2024 compared to 4.4 per cent in 2019). Exposure to vape marketing remains high among young people; only 19 per cent say they don’t see vapes being promoted. Young people are most likely to see vapes promoted in shops (55 per cent) followed by online (29 per cent). TikTok is where 11-17-year-olds most frequently report seeing online promotion.

    In addition to charting the current levels of vaping among adults and youth, ASH also assesses the level of public understanding about the relative safety of vaping compared to smoking. This year has seen public understanding plunge to an all-time low, with half of all adults (50 per cent) and more than half (58 per cent) of 11-17-year-olds believing vaping is as bad for health, or worse than, smoking.

    Hazel Cheeseman, Deputy Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said, “The Tobacco and Vapes Bill includes the powers needed to bring youth vaping down and must be enacted swiftly. However, getting adults to quit smoking is important for children’s health too. The evidence has grown that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but public understanding has gone in the other direction.

    “It is to be hoped that 2024 can be a turning point and youth vaping will fall, alongside an improvement in public understanding about the role vaping can play in helping the UK’s 6 million smokers stop.” 

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