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Under-age consumption of vape grew by 9 per cent in 2021, NHS data reveals

September 6, 2022

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The recent report by NHS Digital shows that there has been a nine per cent rise in vaping among school children aged between 11 to 15 years in 2021.

Nine per cent of secondary school pupils currently (either regularly or occasionally) using e-cigarettes in 2021, an increase from 6 per cent in 2018, statistics published today (6 September) show.

The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021 report also found that cigarette smoking has decreased among school children, 3 per cent of pupils were current smokers, a decline from 5 per cent in 2018.

In addition, 12 per cent reported having ever smoked, a decrease from 16 per cent in 2018, and the lowest level ever recorded.

The report contains results from a biennial survey of secondary school pupils in England years 7-11 (mostly aged 11-15), focusing on smoking, drinking and drug use.

The report found that the number of young people taking drugs has also decreased, 18 per cent of pupils reported having ever taken drugs, a decline from 24 per cent in 2018. 12 per cent of pupils said they had taken drugs in the last year, down from 17 per cent in 2018.

The report also looks at wellbeing, with pupils asked questions around life satisfaction, happiness, and anxiety.

Low levels of life satisfaction were experienced by 57 per cent of young people who had recently smoked, drank alcohol and taken drugs. This compared to 35 per cent who had recently done just one of these things, and 18 per cent who had not recently smoked, drank or taken drugs.

The statistic revealed that regular smokers who are also regular e-cigarette users more than doubled, from 29 per cent of regular smokers in 2018 to 61 per cent in 2021. 18 per cent of all 15 year olds were current e-cigarette users

Current e-cigarette use for 15 year old girls increased from 10 per cent in 2018 to 21 per cent (around 1 in 5) in 2021. 23 per cent of pupils who met people every day were current e-cigarette users, compared to 1 per cent for those who never met people outside of home or school.