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'Vape manufacturers care about profits not our children' says Christian charity head as ban is announced

by Donna Birrell

The head of the children's charity Spurgeons has welcomed the news that disposable vapes are to be banned and measures brought in to restrict vapes being marketed to youngsters.

Setting out the plans, the Prime Minister said the measures are necessary to protect children's health following a rise in the number of children who vape regularly. Over 7 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds now vape regularly or occasionally, that’s up from 4 per cent in 2020.

In 2021, only 7.7 per cent of current vapers aged 11 to 17 used disposable vapes, but this increased to 69 per cent in 2023.

Ian Soars, who is CEO of Spurgeons told Premier the ban is good news, but that it’s also important to understand what drives children to start vaping in the first place:

“We welcome this because obviously, vapes have an unknown impact on children's health. I do support the government, but I do also think there are a lot worse things that our kids are facing, and challenges they are facing. So I applaud what the government's doing. But I would say if you're a parent or a church leader, don't necessarily march into your youth group or your kids’ bedrooms and demand that they hand over their vapes. Maybe take a moment to just sit down and talk to them about what actually is worrying them.

“We also want to see it in the context of ‘what's the landscape for young people like right now?’

“Kids and teenagers particularly tend to do unhealthy and unhelpful things – it’s part of growing up. So there’s no way we can stop it. But what we can do is use some tools in the armoury for our teenagers, so that they can maybe avoid some of the worst excesses of those moments.

“It’s important that kids know who they are, they know that their parents are there for them, come hell or high water. The best thing is spending time with them. If you spend some time with your children, that's the best defence against those peer pressures that we hear so much about.”

It is already illegal to sell vapes to anyone under 18, but disposable vapes - which are cheaper and sold in more colourful packaging, with a variety of sweet flavours, are driving the rise in youth vaping.

Ian Soars said:

“It’s just an outrage. And as a Christian, you have a look at the power of Mammon, the money to work and exploit kids’ health.  I'd like to see a ban on all those fruity flavours. Because make no mistake, these manufacturers are not for our children, they are for profits. And that's a shameful thing.”

The plan to get rid of disposable e-cigarettes in England, Scotland and Wales is due to take effect early next year.

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