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Should we be worried about vaping?

28th October - 4th November 2022

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overview of this week's insights. There are 'weekly results', 'student voice', 'playground trends' and 'making an impact' sections.

From bans in Australia to recommendations from UK health professionals, to the rubbish strewn around your local pavements, vaping is everywhere. Especially if you work in schools or with young people, it is very hard to get away from discussing it.

There are worries of parents and health professionals about the accessibility and the marketing of vape and e-cigarette devices. Recent research shows a more than 50% increase in children trying a vape for the first time.

While there are concerns from authorities and adults it is also essential to listen to what children have to say on the subject. In November 2022, our voters discussed whether its benefits, namely reducing the harm caused by cigarettes outweighs the potential, unknown side effects.


Total votes


5-11 votes


11-18+ votes

Student voice

Young child sitting cross legged and smiling

Primary age 5-7

West Yorkshire

“Playground trends are good because people might make friends and take turns”

Young child in a thinking pose

Primary age 7-11

Greater Manchester

"Because it is quite recent, we have not done enough studies on it to see what effects vaping has on our lungs. It could be as bad as smoking for all we know."

Teenager with a shrug pose



“If smoking can damage people because it has nicotine, vaping can too. To me vaping seems like a new 'cooler' equivalent it's really just the same thing in a flashy case.”

Teenager in a questioning stance with his hand holding his chin


Greater London

"[...] The worry is about the marketing of vaping to young kids who are attracted by the bright colours and bubblegum flavours, but perhaps to maintain the vaping to an older already addicted group would be beneficial in a controlled way."

Weekly Results

We had three different questions this week, with Secondary and College students all considering: “Should we be worried about vaping?”, Primary age 7-11 voters exploring the question: “Do we know enough about how vaping affects us?” and Primary age 5-7 voters deciding: “Are playground trends a good thing?”.

The results of our vaping VoteTopic. 68.8% of Primary pupils think playground trends are a good thing. 60.2% of 7-11 year olds think we don't know enough about how vaping affects us. 73% of Secondary students and 78.3% of 16+ students think we should be worried about vaping

You spoke...they listened

"Hi, I’m Martin Dockrell and I am a civil servant leading on the evidence around smoking and vaping so it was really interesting to hear what you had to say. Every minute in England another person goes into hospital because of smoking. Every 8 minutes in England smoking takes another life. Vaping isn’t as harmful as that and it can be a good way for adult smokers to quit but there are good reasons for young people not to vape. Once you start using nicotine in any form it can be very hard to stop,. We know that nicotine can have an effect on young brains, for example making it hard to concentrate, and vape aerosol contains chemicals that could have an effect on young lungs. That is part of the reason that what you think and feel really matter to us."

Martin Dockrell

Department for Health and Social Care

You spoke...they listened

"It's a familiar outcome that the results of surveys prompt further questions, and that is certainly the case here! I wonder what are these worries about vaping -- that non-smoking students are taking it up without full knowledge of the risks of ill-health or addiction? If so, it's a worry I share."

Dr David Regis

Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU)

You spoke...they listened

"I expect for many people, we do know enough to take a personal decision about whether to use vapour products or not; what I think nobody knows is what are the long-term effects of using them (in varying amounts). It seems certain to me that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, so if you are swapping cigarettes for vapes, that's a step in a positive direction. It also seems certain to me that vaping is more harmful than not vaping, so a non-smoker starting to use vapes is a step in a negative direction. A non-smoker might start because the benefits (looking cool today) seem to outweigh the risks (maybe being ill, and who knows when?). But... "In the US there have been more than 2,300 incidences of vaping-related lung injury, including 47 deaths." (The Guardian)"

Dr David Regis

Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU)