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Lets not ‘stub out’ E-Cigarettes; ‘stub out’ irresponsible adults.

The government have recently announced that Under 18s in the UK are to be banned from the use of electronic cigarettes, with experts citing that it is not yet known what harm the tobacco free devices could inflict and that their contents could be damaging to young people’s health.

Alongside the ban,  Ministers also plan to make it illegal for adults to buy traditional cigarettes for anyone under 18. Experts want to crack down on the number of young people smoking by bringing the law in line with restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

For us (and many others in the industry it seems) we are in complete support of the legislation, however once again the e-cigarette becomes ‘the bad and the ugly’ in the story, with ‘the good’ about the life saving devices completely ignored. 

18 only

The new rules will restrict adults buying cigarettes for under-18s, and should be in force by Autumn this year. Anyone caught buying cigarettes for a child could be given a £50 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £2,500.  It is estimated that each year around 207,000 children in the UK start smoking, with a survey of adult smokers showing that almost 40% of them had started smoking (traditional cigarettes) before the age of 16. [Ash, Young People and Smoking 2012 Report] On top of this horrifying facts, 41% of 15-year-olds who smoke say they usually buy their cigarettes from someone else, rather than from a shop, according to Department of Health figures.

In the UK smoking remains one of the biggest causes of death and illness, with around 100,000 people dying each year from illnesses linked to the habit.

Whilst these statistics are enough to send a chill down your spine, here is something to lighten the statistical load -

Did you know that due to the electronic cigarette, smoking rates have fallen to their lowest ever level, and an estimated 1.3m people in the UK use e-cigarettes as a form of quitting aid?

In spite of this, experts still find concern with the battery powered devices, encouraging teenagers to take up the habit with its ‘glamorous’ persona.  With the ability to buy e-cigs with ease in pubs, chemists, newsagents and a range of other public establishments,  they are seen as ‘bad news’ – with the water vapour being used to mimic the look and feel of smoking.

Whilst nicotine regulation/restriction is necessary with e-cigarettes to ensure the appropriate users (ie. Adults) are buying the products, the real issue we seem to see here is the inappropriate behaviour of adults whom deem it suitable to buy cigarettes for the under 18s.

Looking at the statistics provided by Ash, childhood smoking has always proven to be an issue with in society, one that we do not doubt needs to be addressed.  Despite a steady rise in the 90s, since the ‘rise’ of the e-cigarette there is a distinct correlation between the popularity of the electronic cigarette and the downturn of smoking/smokers in the UK (childhood or otherwise).

The move to improve child health and living is one that we have no doubt has 100% support. But it does appear that the electronic cigarette is shown to be the ‘bad guy’ as a result. No mention of friends/relative influence over smoking decisions, no discussion of peer pressure.

Let it be clear, we do not advocate that anyone under the age of 18 should be using our (or any) products of this nature. But it feels as though e-cigs are the scapegoat for irresponsible adults making poor (and potentially life threatening) choices. Who are these adults buying tobacco cigarettes for children? And why? How can we seek to improve (and ideally eradicate) this situation in society?

It is proven that electronic cigarettes have helped millions change their lives and their health (nicotine ‘liquids’ or even ‘plain flavours’) with much support across the globe from organisations, charities, and health authorities. In our eyes, showing our children that traditional smoking is a thing of the past, uncool, and inherently bad for you (the inventor of the e-cig lost his father to lung cancer – if that isn’t a message to share we don’t know what is)  is nothing but a positive.

Congratulations and kudos to those adults that are setting the better example. Let us hope that you outweigh the few that feel it necessary to supply the next generation with toxins and chemicals.


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