The alarming rise of primary school children hospitalised due to vaping


Children as young as primary school age are using illegally sold vapes and ending up ill in hospital.

There have been several recorded cases of kids under nine years old being admitted to hospital with collapsed and bleeding lungs in what is turning into a worrying trend.

In the 12 months up to April, 15 children aged nine or under were admitted to hospital, a figure which has increased for the second successive year.

NHS England also released figures that revealed 40 young people under the age of 19 were taken to hospital over the past year as a result of excessive vaping.

Professor Andy Bush highlighted the dangers of vapes, telling Sky News: “Young children are being exposed to substances of addiction, substances that are toxic and some of the toxicity is not known.

“It’s a jungle… we just do not know what is in most of these things.

“If a teenager starts smoking cigarettes, probably the worst that’s going to happen to them is they’re going to be sick and throw up behind the bike shed.”

The paediatric chest physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital in west London, continued: “The acute use of e-cigarettes can put them in hospital, can put them in intensive care, things like lung bleeding, lung collapse and air leak, the lungs filling up with fat.”

It’s illegal to sell vapes to under-18s and the boxes are clearly labelled, but the bright, vibrant designs are luring children in as some are made to look like boxes of sweets, make-up or pens, while at £5 each, they are also easily affordable.

John Dunne, from the UK Vaping Industry Association, wants on-the-spot fines of £10,000 to be introduced for those caught selling to young people.

He said: “While we see recent measures announced by the government as a step in the right direction to tackle youth vaping… much more needs to be done to support Trading Standards in their efforts to tackle rogue traders and cut off the source of supply of vapes to minors.”

According to a YouGov survey for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), about 15% of 16 to 17-year-olds, and 18% of 18-year-olds, are current vapers.

They also suggested that 11.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds are experimenting with vaping.

“Youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic among children, and I fear that if action is not taken, we will find ourselves sleepwalking into a crisis,” said Dr Mike McKean, paediatric respiratory consultant and vice-president of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently said it was “ridiculous” that vapes were designed and promoted to appeal to children when they were supposed to be used by adults giving up smoking, adding: “I will do everything in my power to end this practice for good.”

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief, said: “It is seriously concerning that admissions for vaping-related conditions for young people are up almost four-fold over the past two years.

“While to many young people vaping can seem harmless with their deliberately appealing flavours – at least two people in every year 10 classroom have vaped at one point or another – its use can lead to lung damage.

“So it’s really important we nip this in the bud so we can keep young people out of hospital and prevent future health issues.”

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