Vapes: Children are targeting corner shops to get hold of e-cigarettes

More than half of all vaping teenagers buy their e-cigs in corner shops.

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Children are going into corner shops to buy vapes - even though it's illegal to do so.

That is the concern raised by a new study from Imperial College London, which has analysed data around youth vaping.

Following a report by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), the university's researchers found increases in the proportion of children reporting that they had seen e-cigarettes on display in shops.

Youth vaping has become a widespread problem in the UK. (Picture: Alamy/PA)Youth vaping has become a widespread problem in the UK. (Picture: Alamy/PA)
Youth vaping has become a widespread problem in the UK. (Picture: Alamy/PA)

Researchers also examined where children were buying these products from and whether that changed over time - finding that children were far more likely to purchase vapes from corner shops and convenience stores. In fact, 51 per cent of young vapers got their vapes from these retailers in 2022.

Dr Anthony Laverty, from the school of public health at Imperial College London, who led the research, said: “These results highlight high levels of exposure to tobacco and e-cigarettes among children as well as the ease of accessing these products.

“This is despite legislation prohibiting sales to minors. There needs to be greater enforcement of existing laws on the display of tobacco, as well as action to stem e-cigarette advertising and put vapes out of sight and reach of children.

"This data from online surveys is designed to represent the whole population. While there is always some possible error, the results fit with other evidence on what we know about promotion and sale of these products.”

As previously reported by NationalWorld, local authorities are also pushing for disposable vapes to be banned, citing concerns about the future of young vapers' health.

However, the government currently has no plans to make e-cigarettes prescription-only, a move which would take them off the shelves for good.

Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, added: “Quantifying the impact on children of the growing promotion of vapes is crucial to determine the scale of the problem and how best it can be addressed. This analysis shows that instore promotion has the biggest impact, which is why Ash is advocating that promotion and display of e-cigarettes in shops should be prohibited, as should the child friendly packaging and labelling of vapes.”

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