12 February 2020
Britain’s top medical officer has warned politicians against letting history repeat itself by allowing e-cigarettes to be “pushed” at young people.
Professor Chris Whitty said the marketing of vaping products should be dealt with “very, very seriously” by those in charge of regulation.
As he issued his stark warning, Professor Whitty said the long term effects of vaping could not be known for many years to come.
Professor Whitty said: “We need to make sure history does not repeat itself.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “The test of whether a product is being targeted at children is if it starts to be increasingly used by children and that will lead to action.
“If e-cigarettes are increasing in children then we should assume that they are being marketed towards them or at least pushed on them in some way, and deal with that very, very strongly.”
Last month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had received two reports of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury (EVALI) in which the patients had died.
The regulator added that it had also received 20 reports describing 27 “serious respiratory events” linked to e-cigarettes, including pneumonia and lower respiratory tract infection.
NHS Digital’s August figures showed that a quarter of pupils aged 11 to 15 reported they had used e-cigarettes in 2018 – the same as in 2016 – with regular e-cigarette use at 6 per cent.