Vape-addicted children should be offered nicotine patches or gum, say experts

The recommendations include the introduction of plain packaging and restrictions on vape flavour names. Credit: ITV Channel

Children who are addicted to vapes should be given access to nicotine replacement therapies, according to a report from the Incident Response Group (IRG.).

Nicotine patches and other replacement therapies are already available for children over 12-years-old who are smoking, and the IRG report recommends vaping dependency amongst children should be similarly addressed.

Other nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) include chewing gum, skin patches, or inhalators.

This comes as the number of children and young people who vape has surged with experts claiming the rapid rise should be tackled with support over punishment.

The report by Public Health Wales released today (Thursday, 18 April) stresses the importance of recognising vaping as a dependency issue rather than an act of deliberate misconduct.

Consultant in Public Health for Public Health Wales, Chris Emmerson, said: "By understanding vaping as a dependency issue, we can better tailor support services to meet the needs of young people struggling with addiction."

"The rise in youth vaping must be addressed with urgency" said Mr Chris Emmerson Credit: PA

Some suggestions include:

  • Denormalise vaping - Vaping should not be permitted in spaces that are intended primarily for children and young people. Vape-free policies in these spaces are encouraged.

  • Packaging and display - Restricting the advertising of vapes, including the introduction of plain packaging.

  • Disposables - Disposable (single use) devices should be banned.

  • Flavours - Flavour names should be legally restricted to a specified list of basic descriptors such as tobacco, mint, menthol and fruit.

Mr Emmerson added: “In a short time, the Incident Response Group has delivered vital insight into the problem of youth vaping in Wales.

"A clear consensus view that the rise in youth vaping must be addressed with urgency has emerged, and it is by continuing to work together that we stand the best chance of tackling the issue quickly and effectively.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson also expressed their concern over the "rise in youth vaping", stating that they "welcome the investigation undertaken by the Incident Response Group (IRG)" and "will consider its recommendations carefully".

They added: “We are working with the other UK governments to tackle youth vaping by reducing the appeal and availability of vapes to children through the UK Tobacco and Vapes Bill.”