Colin Beattie MSP column: Many concerns over e-cigarettes

Colin Beattie MSP column: Many concerns over e-cigarettes

I HAVE seen a sharp increase in the popularity of disposable vapes over the last year and I am growing increasingly concerned at the amount of people I see vaping and have undertaken vaping but never smoked previously.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) reported last year that around 4.3 million people vape in the UK, with around 350,000 never having smoked previously. If I were to guess, I would reckon this number has increased.

In Scotland, we have worked hard to tackle the issue of smoking and the impact it can have on others through second-hand smoke – from banning smoking in enclosed public spaces in 2006 to, most recently, introducing a law banning smoking within 15 metres of an NHS hospital building in September 2022.

We know the risks of smoking and severe damage smoking does to the body.

The research remains limited on e-cigarettes. The World Health Organisation state that they are “undoubtedly harmful to health”, but there is limited evidence on their long-term impact. I have many concerns of my own regarding e-cigarettes.

We are seeing an increase in fake and unlicensed vapes hit the market – these are not only illegal but there is no way of knowing what is actually inside them.

The attraction of flavoured vapes appeal highly to young people, including children.

The cabinet secretary for health stated in Parliament that we know there is evidence that young people who would not have considered smoking cigarettes are taking up vaping.

We need to take this issue seriously and look at the advertising of these vapes and how young people are so easily obtaining them.

Finally, there is the impact these single-use vaping products have on our environment.

I am seeing more and more of these disposed of on the streets. I welcome the cabinet secretary for health announcing that the environmental impact will be investigated and a ban on single-use vapes considered. It is important we act now to prevent any further harm.

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East Lothian Courier
Cameron Ritchie

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