ASH Setting The Record Straight on Youth Vaping

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has this week released a briefing for local authorities on youth vaping. Vape consumer charity The New Nicotine Alliance says “this is a timely document which follows a steady stream of alarmist media headlines on the subject in recent weeks.

Action on Smoking and Health’s briefing has been endorsed by several public health organisations including the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the Royal College of Physicians, meaning that it carries great weight with those who will be reading it.

It is aimed at local authorities who hold growing concerns about youth vaping, public health officials, trading standards officers, councillors, schools, parents, and retailers.

The New Nicotine Alliance says: “It debunks some of the many myths seen recently in the media which have been negatively skewing the public’s view of vaping products and how they can continue to contribute positively to public health. The UK is a global leader in recognising the benefits of reduced risk products such as e-cigarettes to help smokers to quit, and we are pleased that ASH has reacted to recent negativity in the news with a calm and balanced set of evidence-based guidelines for local authorities to follow.”

Action on Smoking and Health says that the national media frequently reports that young people vaping is rapidly becoming a “public health catastrophe” and make illogical claims that we are rapidly approaching a ‘generation hooked on nicotine’. Action on Smoking and Health states this is “not substantiated by the evidence.

The New Nicotine Alliance adds: “Regarding myths carried in the media, ASH is forthright with unequivocal corrective statements, including (emphases by ASH):

1.Disposable vapes DO NOT contain as much or more nicotine as a packet of 20 cigarettes. Comparing like with like, a UK standard 2 ml disposable vape contains 40 mg of nicotine, an average pack of 20 cigarettes contains 250 mg of nicotine which is more than six times as much.

2.There is NOT strong evidence that vaping is a gateway into smoking.

3.Most young people who try vaping DO NOT get addicted to nicotine. Those who vape are much less likely to be dependent than those who smoke. 

4.E-cigarettes have been on the market in the UK for 15 years and have been the most popular quitting aid since 2013. During that time vaping has NOT BEEN associated with widespread health problems in the UK.

5.An outbreak of serious respiratory disease (known as ‘EVALI’) in the US in 2019 WAS NOT caused by vaping nicotine, but by vaping cannabis with vitamin E acetate added to it.”

Action on Smoking and Health tells all those concerned that anti-vaping propaganda is the danger, not reports of teen use. It points to a public health campaign in New Zealand where teens were left so scared it ended up promoting smoking and local rates of smoking rose in those viewing the campaign.

The New Nicotine Alliance concludes: “This latest briefing by ASH acts as a helpful resource for rebutting much of the misinformation and inaccurate rhetoric surrounding youth vaping in the UK.