Scotland

Scottish teenagers admit trying e-cigarettes

Smoking an e-cigarette Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Many said they had tried the electronic devices, but most thought they were "not cool"

Almost a quarter of 13 and 14-year-olds in Scotland have tried electronic cigarettes, according to Ash Scotland.

The anti-smoking campaign commissioned research which indicated 24% of young teenagers have used the devices.

But 63% of the young people questioned said they thought e-cigarettes are "not cool".

Ash Scotland has called for a legal ban on sales of electronic smoking devices to anyone under 18, with tighter controls on their marketing.

The charity's chief executive Sheila Duffy said: "Our survey shows teenagers are using e-cigarettes in significant numbers and it is particularly worrying that children as young as 13 and 14 are trying them.

"The findings underline our call for legislation to outlaw the sale of these devices to anyone under 18 and for tighter controls on their marketing.

"There is no doubt that e-cigarettes, which come in flavours such as milkshake and bubblegum, are attractive to young people."

She added: "We also need more research into whether the use of e-cigarettes, and in particular the way they are marketed and promoted, could provide a gateway to tobacco and could 'renormalise' cigarette smoking, something we must fight against as Scotland moves towards its goal of having a generation free from tobacco by 2034."

Ash Scotland called for more research on e-cigarettes, with a particular emphasis on monitoring how young people's knowledge and behaviours develop over time.

Its report said: "These devices are almost certainly substantially safer than tobacco, but they cannot be said to be completely safe."

1. On some e-cigarettes, inhalation activates the battery-powered atomiser. Other types are manually switched on

2. A heating coil inside the atomiser heats liquid nicotine contained in a cartridge

3. Liquid nicotine becomes vapour and is inhaled. The 'smoke' produced is largely water vapour. Many e-cigarettes have an LED light as a cosmetic feature to simulate traditional cigarette glow.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The Scottish gvernment is clear that electronic cigarettes require appropriate regulation and should never be promoted to young people.

"To ensure young people are properly protected, we are committed to introducing a restriction on the age at which an e-cigarette can be purchased.

"We are exploring what more can be done in Scotland now that the European Tobacco Products Directive has set out its measures for regulation and we will consider all available options to protect public health."

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