UK: Devon Schools Report Increase in E-Cigarette Use

Feedback from Devon schools has raised concerns about increased vaping rates.

Recent research across Devon schools has found that younger pupils are less likely to have tried e-cigarettes than older pupils. Devon’s Public Health director, Steve Brown, has written to all Devon schools, saying that while vapes can be easily concealed and brought into schools, it is important to make a distinction between people who use them recreationally and those who use them to quit smoking.

“The identification of vapes can be difficult for staff as they are designed to look like pens, cosmetics or perfumes. He makes the distinction between the use of vaping as an effective stop smoking aid for adults over 18 years old, and recreational vaping among people school-aged.”

Brown urged all schools to cooperate. “I know that schools in Devon are doing a lot to keep on top of this trend, talking to pupils individually and in assemblies and classrooms about the risks associated with smoking and vaping. Many also already do this, but we’re asking schools to work with parents and carers to share information about their school policies and procedures on e-cigarettes and why they have them.”

Devon hospital supports vaping for smoking cessation
Meanwhile in 2020, Derriford Hospital, the largest hospital in the county of Devon which has been smoke-free since 2016, announced it was planning to allow vaping on its grounds, in a bid to encourage smokers to switch to the safer alternatives.

In line with suggestions by Public Health England (PHE) the hospital has fully endorsed the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, hence why the hospital’s health managers had decided to allow vaping on the hospital’s grounds.

In order to avoid any confusion, the hospital will now call itself “tobacco-free” instead of “smoke-free”, and while the plans would see the external area at the hospital becoming “vape-friendly”, signage will instruct vapers to avoid using their devices at entrances and bus stops. Painted lines and signs “will clearly define the point at which smokers are requested to extinguish their cigarettes” and where they can vape.

The hospital may also start issuing disposable e-cigarettes as part of its drive to encourage people to quit smoking. Director of health improvement at PHE, Professor John Newton, said that if one must, switching to vaping is better than smoking. “There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.”

“The sooner you stop smoking completely the better. We are alert to the risks and the UK has taken a careful approach to maximise the opportunities that e-cigarettes present to help more smokers quit,” added Newton.