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  1. ITV Report

E-cigarette use 'rapidly increasing' among young people

Credit: PA

Young people in Wales are twice as likely to try an e-cigarette compared to tobacco, according to research from Cardiff University.

Research published in the British Medical Journal Open suggests that youth experimentation with e-cigarettes has grown rapidly since 2013

The study concluded that there was no evidence that e-cigarettes make young people more likely to smoke but warned that youth e-cigarette use may become a public health problem if left unmonitored.

According to the research, older students and male students were most likely to have used an e-cigarette.

Our data suggest that e-cigarette use is rapidly increasing among youth. While there remains no evidence that it represents a new pathway into smoking, a concern for public health professionals and policymakers is that e-cigarettes could be a new route into nicotine addiction for a large number of young people who have never smoked, if widespread regular use occurs.

Regular use by non-smokers remains very low, but is growing. If left unmonitored, young people’s use of e-cigarettes may be on course to become a public health problem regardless of its links to smoking. So, it is important to understand how this upward trajectory might be prevented.

The real need now, is for further research to examine long-term youth e-cigarette and tobacco use, and to understand e-cigarette use from young people’s perspectives. It is also important to monitor the impact of very recent changes in legislation, which have restricted sales to under 18s and banned many forms of marketing, on youth e-cigarette use.

– Elen de Lacy, Cardiff University

The study consulted over thirty thousand 11 to 16-year-olds from 87 different schools in Wales.