Are we living in a disposable vape epidemic?

Long gone are the days of loom bands and Silly Bandz being the innocent tween trends to take over the nation and send our kids into a frenzy.

The latest craze to sweep our youth’s generation are fruity flavoured disposable vapes that bare a striking resemblance to highlighter pens you’d find in a pencil case.

Some might say we’re in a disposable vape ‘epidemic’, as it seems we cannot leave our home without accidentally colliding with a plume of strawberry or pink lemonade-smelling vape smoke. And, if you’re not being met with these fumes, then you will most definitely recognise the number of fluorescent pens littered around parks and streets.

Despite the risks of vaping continuing to grow – with a recent report finding that there has been a rise in shops selling counterfeit vapes that contain illegally high levels of nicotine – their popularity is rising too, with a survey conducted by NHS Digital finding that 1 in 5 15 year-olds now vape. This figure comes as no surprise as vapes are so easily accessible, with many shops failing to ID individuals to see if they meet the minimum age requirement of 18 to buy these vapes.

There’s no denying that vapes are everywhere – they’re on every night out, every smoking area, and we can place our bets they’re in most school bathrooms where teens gather to puff away on them. But why is it such a growing phenomenon?

Well, their brightly coloured packaging and fruity flavours might be a hint, but they’re also considerably cheaper than cigarettes. People can buy vapes for as low as £4, but a 20 pack of Marlboro Gold in Tesco will set you back a cool £14.10. And then we have teen idols such as Lana Del Rey who are often spotted onstage duel-wielding a microphone and vape. There is no wonder that these vapes are plastered all over social media in a variety of different flavours and colours, as the hashtag #elfbar currently has over 400m views, while vaping has 3.1 billion on the TikTok platform, where you’ll also be able to find a host of accounts reviewing and ‘rating’ different vapes.

If you’re worried your child may be vaping, visit our Healthy Schools page here where you can find some helpful resources to support you and your child to go smoke and vape free.

Being in hospital has made me more self-aware and health conscious; it has got me thinking more about my health and making better long term choices, so I have given up smoking.
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