Key measures recently set out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) include a £3million national initiative, led by Trading Standards, to enforce the rules on vaping and clampdown on illicit vapes and under-age sales.
A Call for Evidence on youth vaping has also been launched to gather information to identify ways to reduce the number of under-18s getting hold of and using vape products.
With vaping currently one of the most effective ways to help adults stop smoking, a countrywide scheme to help a million people switch from cigarettes to vapes has also been unveiled as part of government efforts to make England Smokefree by 2030.
Financial incentives to support pregnant women stub out cigarettes have additionally been announced following the Government’s consideration of the independent Khan Smoking Review
Smoking is the leading cause of death, disease and health inequality in England. While the number of smokers in Kent is at a record low, some 167,000 residents continue to face serious health issues because of the addiction, and smoking costs the county over £480million a year.
National figures also show a sharp increase in children using e-cigarettes
In a joint statement, KCC’s Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, and Head of Kent Trading Standards, Steve Rock, said: “Government action to tackle the sale of vapes to children and young people, and support more people to quit cigarettes, is welcome.
“Health advice remains vapes are an effective way to help adults stop smoking but the negative impacts of vaping in under-18s are unclear and more research is needed on its long-term effects.
“We are concerned about the growing popularity of vaping among children and young people and agree with the need for a review of packaging, marketing and promotion to make vapes less appealing to them.
“We already share intelligence about the illegal tobacco and vape trade in Kent with enforcement teams across the country. We also urge responsible businesses and residents to report illegal sales to ensure dangerous products are removed from market and young lives are not put at risk.
“We will be responding to DHSC’s Call for Evidence and are seeking clarification on how the new national enforcement initiative will work and who will be involved.”
To report illicit vapes, illegal tobacco or under-age sales to Kent Trading Standards, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, complete the simple online form at Crimestoppers – 100% anonymously.