Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of young people using electronic – cigarettes. Just a few years ago we saw the total proportion of young people age 16-24, who were daily or occasional vapers in 2022, increase to 15.5% compared with 11.1% in 2021.

 Although nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, it still proposes very large problems. Vapes contain Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems. Vapes also contain flavourings such as diacetyl which is a chemical linked to serious lung disease.

People use vapes to wind down and relax but, according to research nicotine causes symptoms of anxiety and depression to worsen. In truth, nicotine is a toxic substance. It raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack. Vaping also affects memory, concentration, self – control and attention span - which is especially harmful to the developing brains of young people. Vaping has also been proven to decrease testosterone levels, which affects sleep, mood and in some cases causes infertility.

Vaping is especially dangerous because the long – term affects of it are not currently known. It took more than 100 years of research, discussion and debate to reach our current knowledge of smoking’s risks, vaping has only been around for approximately 20 years, so the true severity of its long-term affects are not known.

However, the increase in vaping cannot be entirely blamed on the youth. Many companies spend their money advertising a variety of flavours of electronic cigarettes such as: blueberry, bubble-gum, strawberry vanilla and so on. These flavours are so obviously made to appeal to a younger demographic, therefore increasing the number of young people vaping.

Ultimately, this is turning out to be a large problem for our generation, with a lot of people feeling the need to ‘fit in’. As a society we need to work together to help our youth and find ways of reversing this issue.