Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Written evidence submitted by to The Campaign for Children’s Lung Health to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Public Bill Committee (TVB34)

Executive Summary

Information, in child friendly language, needs to be developed to explain the damage nicotine causes to the growing lungs of children and young people as well as its addictive properties. It will require updating as new information becomes available

All types of vapes and flavourings should be banned for sale to children and young people

Enforcement of that ban requires full funding of staff together with punitive fines for those who continue to disobey the law

A funded network of clinics, appropriately designed and run for young people who are addicted to nicotine, need to be created

Plain packaging, advertising bans and age verification procedures need to be set up for all vapes, as with tobacco merchandise

1. The Campaign for Children’s Lung Health (CCLH) has been founded mainly by experienced paediatric respiratory doctors and nurses who believe vaping to be one of the greatest health hazards facing our children and young people (CYP) today. CCLH is independent, has no financial support and is made up of concerned individuals who seek to influence and support the Tobacco and Vaping Bill as it applies to CYP.

· We only speak for people up to the age of 18 years

· Our statements are based on published data independent of the tobacco and vaping industry. We can supply full references and details should they be required

· We have cared for and have had expertise in this age group for decades. Vaping has short and long-term consequences the more serious being addiction to nicotine, chronic lung damage and death. Many of the longer-term side-effects of vaping are completely unknown

· The harmful effects of vaping are poorly communicated to and within the CYP population

· CCLH is supported by the British Paediatric Respiratory Society (BPRS) and the National Paediatric Respiratory and Allergy Nurses Group (NPRANG). CCLH has strong links with, but is independent from, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

2. Despite a ban on vape sales to CYP being in place, some 20% of children and young people occasionally or regularly vape (Cheshire East data), some are already addicted to nicotine (20 vaping children in Sheffield were recently referred to cessation clinics but only 5 successfully stopped vaping.) The Bill will not become law for at least 3 years by which time the numbers of CYP vaping and addicted to nicotine will be much higher.

3. Disposable vapes are cheap, have flavours and colourings which attract CYP and are the most popular vapes commonly used by CYP (64% in Cheshire East). We must do everything possible to prevent disposable vapes getting into the hands of our CYP. The most recent evidence suggests that the more attractive flavourings also result in higher urinary lead and lithium levels in young users. (Tobacco Control 2024). The World Health Organisation recommended in December 2023 that all vapes with flavourings should be banned. We support the WHO recommendation.

4. The environmental hazards of disposable vapes include huge amounts of disposable plastic and heavy metal waste sufficient to fill 22 football pitches each year. They are almost impossible to recycle and, in the UK, 5 million of them are binned each week. Over 40 tonnes of lithium are thrown out annually which is sufficient to make batteries for 5000 electric cars. There are leakages of battery acid, lithium and lead as well as nicotine into the soil, the water and the atmosphere from landfill sites.

5. Deaths in children directly related to vaping have been reported in the UK, the USA and other countries. There is also growing doubt that vaping is safer than smoking tobacco (Thorax 2024). As we simply don’t know what many of them contain how can anyone presume they are safe? Peer-group pressure to start vaping is increasing and more CYP vape where other family members also vape (NW region data). E-cigarettes may also reduce fertility (The Times 27 04 24), increase periodontal damage, tooth decay (Crit Rev Tox 2020) and have an ageing effect on skin (Clin Derm 2021). If CYP were aware of this information they might be less willing to start vaping. There is evidence that vaping worsens outcomes for asthma in CYP, that passive vaping can cause harm and that vaping can alter how genes are expressed in human lungs, including those related to the development of lung cancer. We know there is an adverse effect on children’s health outcomes in adolescent males who smoke, even if they then quit smoking. Also, there are transgenerational effects – grandmothers’ smoking affects their daughter’s children, even if the daughter does not smoke. Such changes haven’t even been looked for in CYP who vape, yet still some say vaping is safe. We disagree with such statements.

6. One of our greatest concerns is how the Tobacco & Vaping Bill will be enforced. To date there have been very few fines for illegal vape sales to CYP. As with tobacco, we envisage that plain packaging, point of sale display bans and age verification will be required. Without ring-fenced budgets to assist retailers and pay the salaries of enforcement officers the Law may read well but be practically ineffective. We urge the committee to ensure that all the above costs are fully funded. Without the above measures the future health of our CYP will be at risk.

May 2024


Prepared 8th May 2024