Responding to the Government’s announcement that shops in England will no longer be able to offer free samples of vaping products to children, Professor David Strain, BMA board of science chair, said:
“It’s good to see the Government finally beginning to take seriously the potential harm being posed to children by vaping. That these products – though illegal to sell to children – were legally available for retailers to give out free of charge as samples to children is baffling and shocking in equal measure, indicating the need to seriously look at the way they are so clearly being marketed at young people.
“With their bright colours and sweet fruity flavours, they are designed to appeal to children, yet many contain addictive and potentially harmful ingredients. While they have a place as a smoking cessation tool alongside other measures, it’s incredibly worrying to see them being used to get non-smokers to take up vaping – and most concerningly, children.
“Today’s measures are positive steps, particularly in addressing the availability of illegal products, but we need tighter legislation to prevent children from being exposed to e-cigarettes, with more research on the long-term negative health impacts. Plain packaging, health warnings on boxes, a limit on available flavours, and a ban on shops displaying e-cigarettes where children can see them would all demonstrate the Government’s commitment to safeguarding young people, and helping prevent them from developing an addictive, expensive and potentially harmful habit.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.