Shropshire Star

Councillor urges action to combat rise of underage vaping

A Telford & Wrekin councillor has called for action to tackle underage vaping.

Newport Councillor, Thomas Janke

Newport Councillor Thomas Janke, who led a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of laughing gas in 2019, has turned his gaze to vaping.

At the Telford & Wrekin full council meeting on March 2, Mr Janke asked fellow councillors for their opinion on the regulation of vaping products.

Mr Janke was calling on the council to support a growing national call for vapes to be regulated in much the same way as tobacco products - with plain packaging and a requirement for products to be out of sight behind shop counters.

He said: "Far too often we see young people well under the age of 18 using vapes without fully understanding the consequences of nicotine addiction, most of whom have never smoked before in their life."

In the meeting, Councillor Kelly Middleton, cabinet member for leisure, public health and well-being, acknowledged that vapes could be useful tools for adults to stop smoking.

But she also said there was evidence demonstrating an increase in the use of vapes among children.

She said: "Our message is clear, if you don't smoke, then don't start to vape."

Ms Middleton said she intended to write to the Health Secretary, asking the Government to put into action healthy policy recommendations in light of growing evidence of increases in underage vaping.

The recommendations include trying to reduce the appeal of vapes to children by enforcing stricter regulations of advertising and labelling.

Mr Janke said the council's response was "fairly positive" and has plans to meet with Councillor Middleton to discuss engaging with local schools to educate young people about the potential dangers of vaping, and enforcement strategies to tackle the illegal sale of vaping products to children.

"I also want to engage with local businesses who sell these products and parents," Councillor Janke added, "so as a community we can help stamp out the sales of vaping products to young people under 18 years of age."