Fresh fears after new data shows 4.5m in the UK vape - and the habit is on the rise in young people

The introduction of e-cigarettes was meant to improve the nation's health, but rising numbers have prompted new concerns, as ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports

Around four million people in the UK vape and the habit is on the rise, according to new figures.

Data from the Office of National Statistics has led to fresh health and environmental fears after it showed a concerning rise in the number of young people vaping.

Councils are now calling for legal change on disposable e-cigarettes. It comes as France said it will join other countries, like Australia, in enforcing a ban on throw-away devices - largely due to the amount of toxic litter.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the sale and manufacture of single-use e-cigarettes should be stopped next year.

The habit is said to cause a myriad of health issues, including asthma, lung scarring, and further organ damage.

Across the country, 4.5 million adults - or 8.7% - said they currently used an e-cigarette daily or occasionally.

This is an increase from 7.7% of people in 2021.

E-cigarette use was highest among those aged 16 to 24 years in the UK and the percentage of people in this group who were daily or occasional vapers in 2022 has increased to 15.5% compared with 11.1% in 2021.

A recent study showed that half of children aged 13 to 17 who enter shops in Belfast to buy vapes are successfully making the illegal transaction.

Other findings have found that boys who smoke in their early teens risk passing on damaged genes to their own children, leading to greater chances of them developing asthma, obesity and lung problems.

Proportion of smokers in the UK by country

- Wales: 14.1%- Northern Ireland: 14.0%- Scotland: 13.9%- England: 12.7%

Scientists from the universities of Southampton and Bergen in Norway fear vaping could cause similar inherited health issues.

The report also shined a light on regular cigarette smokers.

It said the lowest proportion of current smokers was in England, followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The highest proportion of smokers are in Wales.

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