Intended for healthcare professionals


Protecting children from harms of vaping

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 16 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:e073824

Linked State of the Art Review

Impact of vaping on respiratory health

  1. Kenneth Macleod, consultant respiratory paediatrician1,
  2. Andy Bush, professor of paediatric respirology2,
  3. Jonathan Coutts, consultant neonatologist3,
  4. Ross Langley, consultant respiratory paediatrician4
  1. 1Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK
  3. 3Neonatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Department of Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to: K Macleod Kenneth.A.Macleod{at}

Children who vape risk a lifetime of nicotine addiction

The international popularity of vaping products has grown rapidly over the past decade,1 and e-cigarettes are widely promoted as effective smoking cessation devices.2 While sales in the UK are limited to those over the age of 18 years, the design and marketing seems strongly targeted at children and young people.3 Promotional strategies include colourful devices with multiple flavourings, associations with sport, and use of social media.

The recent rise in vaping among children and young people confirms these strategies are effective: current use among children aged 11-17 years increased from 3.3% in 2021 to 9-14% in 2022.24 Promotion of e-cigarettes to reduce smoking in adults seems to be at the expense of young people. The World Health Organization agrees that a continued rise in vaping in this population is a risk to health because of both short term harms and the long term consequences of lifelong nicotine addiction.56

Known harms

E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as “95% safer” than conventional cigarettes.7 …

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