NHS survey reveals decline in youth vaping and smoking
Youth vaping and smoking numbers are on the decline and e-cigarette-use remains very low, according to an NHS survey
Just 1 percent of current e-cigarette users aged 11-15 have never smoked, according to the biennial Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2018 survey.
The findings echo an Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey from earlier this year. The study found that not a single never-smoker aged between 11 and 18 reported vaping every day.
While there was a slight increase in the prevalence of vaping among 11-15-year-olds between 2014 and 2016, vaper numbers are now dropping.
Smoker numbers have continued to gradually decline for over the past decade.
In 2018, 16 percent of pupils in English secondary schools had ever tried cigarettes.
This number is down from 19 percent in 2016 and 46 percent in 1996.
Last year, only 5 percent of pupils were current smokers compared to 22 percent 13 years ago.
Decrease in alcohol use
Alcohol use is also decreasing among this age group, though not at the same rate as smoking.
In 2018, 44 percent of students had ever tried alcohol compared to 62 percent in 1996.
Interestingly, from 1996 onwards this percentage decreased and then plateaued.
Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Lead at Public Health England addressed the survey on Twitter, noting:
Youth smoking is strongly associated with youth vaping, but that doesn’t mean kids smoked because they vaped. A substantial proportion of young smokers also drink and use drugs. Oversimplifying these relationships makes for bad policy. pic.twitter.com/eadaYszHQi
— Martin Dockrell (@SwitchFinder) August 20, 2019
E-cigarettes still don’t ‘renormalise’ smoking
Research shows that e-cigarettes don’t make youngsters more likely to smoke.
In fact, a study by Cardiff University found the opposite to be true.
Researchers studied attitudes to smoking among 13 to 15 year olds.
They analysed almost 250,000 responses from three national surveys between 1998 and 2015.
These responses detailed whether or not individuals smoked, or how often they did.
Researchers found that the e-cigarette ‘boom’ period had “no significant change” on these responses.