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World News

Hope UK: Churches should talk more about vaping and its impact on young people

by Donna Birrell

Nine out of 10 people would like their church to provide greater support to young people regarding vaping, according to a Christian national drug education charity. 

Conducted the New Wine Christian festival in August, Hope UK polled nearly 200 festival goers with only eleven per cent saying their knowledge about vaping and its risks was good.

The majority of parents and carers felt ill-equipped to talk to and guide their children and wanted their churches and local schools to provide better education on the topic.

The survey found that around ten per cent of children and young people aged up to 16 years had ever vaped – which is lower than the national average, at 20.5 per cent of 11-17-year-olds (ASH 2023), yet the results paint a clear picture of the impact of vaping on children within the wider church community.

Almost four out of 10 parents said they had seen evidence of possession or use of a vape or suspected their child might be vaping.

Nearly all those surveyed (97 per cent) stated that there should be tighter controls around the marketing and availability of single-use vapes, to prevent young people from getting hold of these products so easily.

Hope UK said: “Whilst the UK government looks at ways of restricting access and use by children, with a possible ban on single-use vapes being considered, the survey responses confirm what we already know - that education is essential if our children and young people are going to be properly equipped to make informed decisions about vaping. 

"As a Christian drug education charity, Hope UK offers bespoke, interactive workshops and sessions for churches, their youth groups and parents and carers, delivered by trained drug educators within their local communities.”

The survey also showed that most young people heard about vaping from friends at school – with over 70 per cent saying that vaping was a problem in their school. The findings echo the concerns of headteachers across the UK who have urged the government to take action in the wake of a reported huge increase in vaping within secondary schools.

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