Soon all under 18s will be barred from purchasing electronic cigarettes under new plans by the Government which is aimed at reducing teenage smoking.
This announcement comes as electronic cigarettes are enjoying soaring sales, with approximately 1.3 million people using them in the UK.
The law is going to be introduced as an amendment to the Children and Families Bill and it will also make it illegal for anyone over 18 adults to buy cigarettes for those under 18. Any adult caught breaking the law could face a £50 fixed penalty notice or even be fined up to £2,500. All this comes as figures released by the Department of Health figures show that nearly half of all15-year-olds who smoke admit they usually get their cigarettes from other people instead of going to a shop to buy them.
Regarding e-cigarettes, many people view these tobacco-free devices as a great alternative to the more traditional cigarettes, although health experts remain unconvinced about the long-term effects they could potentially have on users' health. E-cigarettes give the user a hit of nicotine which makes some fear they reinforce the habits and behaviour of smoking, consequently making it harder for them to give up in the long term. However those who are regular users of electronic cigarettes say that this is the reason why they chose to switch to e-cigs, as they replicate the smoking feeling and action without most of the negative consequences.
England's chief medical officer Professor Sally Davies says that the harm e-cigarettes can cause to adults or children are largely unknown and are thought not to be totally risk free. They still can produce toxic chemicals and there is a varying amount of nicotine, contaminants and other chemical constituents, including the vaporised flavourings between products. The key here is to make sure you buy your e-cigs, e-liquids etc from a quality supplier.
Professor Sally Davies
Currently there is no restriction on under eighteens buying e-cigarettes and they are quite popular among British teenagers. Some are concerned that children are using smokeless devices, which are designed to help users reduce or quit smoking, before they move on to traditional cigarettes. The data on this hypothesis is still unavailable however.
Smoking rates are at their lowest ever, this is in the wake of the ban on public smoking, public health campaigns highlighting the dangers of cigarettes as well as all the help there is to assist smokers in quitting. One of these is the use of electronic cigarettes and thousands of people have successfully managed to reduce or stop smoking entirely with the use of the e-cig. A spokesperson for the electronic cigarettes said quite clearly that whatever harm an electronic cigarette can pose it is always going to be far less than a traditional cigarette. Whilst the research into the effects of long term usage of e-cigs continues, the new legislation on under 18s using electronic cigarettes and the ban on adults buying cigarettes for under eighteens will come into force by this autumn.