Guernsey youngsters get lessons on the dangers of vaping

The Health Improvement Commission targets vaping, as numbers of youngsters taking up the habit increase.

The latest Substance Abuse report quotes data from the 2022 Young Peoples' Survey, which shows vaping among Guernsey youngsters is on the rise.

In 2019, 2% of year 8 and 10 pupils reported that they vaped regularly, but that figure had jumped to 10% by 2022.

As a result, tackling vaping in youngsters is a key aim of the drive to reduce substance abuse.

Guernsey's government agreed to ban disposable vapes on 23 May, and under 18s will not be able to buy any type of vape.

Until that becomes law, the Health Improvement Commission is working with schoolchildren to illustrate the health dangers posed by vaping.

It has collaborated with Smoke Free Sheffield to develop a series of lessons, online resources and leaflets for parents.

The director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, says the work is important:

"The message is clear that whilst vapes have become an important harm reduction tool for many adults who smoke, they should not be used by those who do not smoke. Supporting children and young people to stop vaping will continue to be a focus for 2024."

The annual substance abuse report shows that more pregnant women are smoking. It is now 9.5% at the start of pregnancy, reducing to 7.7% at the time of delivery.

The report cautions that statistics in Guernsey can make things look worse, because of the relatively low numbers in any sample. 

Referrals to the Community Drug and Alcohol team increased over the past two years, with alcohol being the primary issue of concern, far outweighing opioid abuse.

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