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In light of recent government plans to crack down on vaping among young people and as ministers are set to ban single use vapes over child addiction fears, it is crucial for educators to equip students with the knowledge and understanding they need to make informed decisions. At VotesforSchools, we believe in empowering teachers with engaging resources to address important topics like vaping in the classroom. In this blog post, we'll explore the impact of vaping on young people, discuss the government's under-age crackdown, and provide free lessons on vaping that you can use to educate your students.
The UK Government published an article on 30th May 2023 outlining their plans to crack down on underage vaping. This includes:
Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said that "it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start vaping. There has been a particularly worrying rise in the number of children using vapes, with companies clearly marketing these products at children using colours, flavours and cheap disposable options."
Importantly, for schools, the Government also announced that, "the health risks of vaping will be also included in Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) lessons, as part of the government’s ongoing review of RSHE, in order to further discourage children from taking up vaping."
Recent investigations, including one conducted by the BBC, have shed light on the potential health risks associated with vaping. Illegal vapes confiscated from school pupils were found to contain significantly higher levels of harmful substances, such as lead, nickel, and chromium, surpassing safe limits. These findings have sparked concerns among health experts and policymakers alike.
Public Health Wales (PHW) has reported that some schoolchildren addicted to vaping are using e-cigarettes during lessons and even waking up at night to vape, prompting concerns about dependency and addiction, with surveys indicating that 9-10% of year seven and year ten pupils vape daily, and the ease of availability of vapes among young people raises concerns about regulation and legislation to curb the problem.
As vaping is a relatively new habit, comprehensive studies examining the long-term health risks associated with vaping are yet to be completed. This lack of extensive research highlights the importance of engaging students in critical discussions about vaping and encouraging them to consider the potential long-term consequences.
Our free lessons on vaping, provided by VotesforSchools, prompt students to explore the existing gaps in research and consider the uncertainties surrounding this practice. The lessons ask the question, "Do we know enough about vaping?" and look at the history of smoking, the little research around vaping, and ask children to think critically about whether we know enough about the risks of vaping.
The lessons are differentiated for different age groups, with the questions outlined below:
KS1 (Aged 5-7): Are playground trends a good thing?
KS2 (Aged 7-11): Do we know enough about how vaping affects us?
KS3 & KS4 (Aged 11-18): Should we be worried about vaping?
As part of our commitment to promoting education and well-being, we are offering free access to our vaping lessons. So far, more than 42,000 young people have taken part in the lessons, and shared their answers to the questions with The Department for Health & Social Care and SHEU. These resources are designed to facilitate classroom discussions, raise awareness, and empower students to make informed decisions. By engaging in these discussions, educators can empower students to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
Please provide the following information to access the free downloads.