Guernsey Press

‘Vapes should only be used as an aid to stop smoking’

VAPES should only be used for quitting smoking, director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink has said.

(Picture by PA News)

Health & Social Care is currently responding to public and political concern about the safety and marketing and sales of vapes, as it was revealed there are currently no restrictions around vaping locally.

‘My message on vaping is simple – the only acceptable use of vapes, in my opinion, is as a stop-smoking aid,’ Dr Brink said yesterday.

‘If you currently smoke, then we know it is better to vape. This is because smoking substantially increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, many cancers, dementia and lung disease. It also harms those around the smoker, including children and unborn babies.’

About 10% of deaths in the Bailiwick for people over 35 between 2019 and 2021 were caused by smoking. That is about 175 people over the three-year period.

‘So, if you smoke it is better to try and quit using a vape,’ Dr Brink said.

‘But people must remember that vaping is not risk-free. We do not know the long-term risks of vaping and while some vapes are nicotine-free, many do contain nicotine, which is addictive. It is therefore very important that non-smokers should be encouraged not to start vaping.’

She was particularly concerned about the impact on young people.

While cigarettes can only be bought by people over 18, there is no legal age limit for buying vapes.

‘Vaping companies are marketing products using colours, flavours and cheap disposable options and my worry is that these are targeting children,’ Dr Brink said.

The Guernsey Young People’s Survey 2022 showed a sharp increase in secondary school age students who vape regularly.

A further concern is that vapes being sold illegally in the UK may contain substances such as lead and nickel.

‘These may then find their way to the Bailiwick,’ Dr Brink said. ‘High levels of inhaled lead damages children’s central nervous system and brain development. The message from Public Health is clear – if you don’t smoke, don’t vape.

‘Do not start vaping if you are a non-smoker.’