A survey of under-18s has found a significant rise in the use of certain vapes which are popular on social media, leading to the suspicion that watching glamorous influencers promoting the products on TikTok and Instagram, is drawing many youth to try the products.
The Impression of vaping as a glamorous activity to engage in, as shown on platforms like TikTok, just like smoking in old movies, is drawing adolescents into habit, fear a number of health and tobacco harm reduction groups. Conducted by the charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) the study found that the proportion of children aged 11 to 17 who vape has increased from 4 to 7% this year.
“Online platforms don’t need to wait, they must act now. The flood of glamourous promotion of vaping on social media, in particular TikTok, is completely inappropriate and they should turn off the tap,” said ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott.
More fears about disposable vapes
The products which increased in popularity includes a new generation of disposable vapes known as puff bars, which contain nicotine and have come on to the market in the past year. In January 2021, online vape platform IndeJuice reported a 279% increase in sales of disposable vapes in the final quarter of 2021 compared to the one before, according to The Mirror. Flavours including “fruit” and “ice” accounted for 60% of sales.
Being cheap and disposable, teens are more likely to purchase one, and adding to the mix their generally light colours and fruity flavours, they tend to give the impression they are harmless. However, points out Dr Gareth Nye, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Chester, this is not the case.
“There is limited scientific evidence regarding these products, mainly [regarding] the liquid used to vape with rather than the vaping device itself as they have continued to change over the last ten years,” he said.