Have your say on a Smokefree Generation

Through our relationships with schools, colleagues in education, and from local data sources such as the pupil wellbeing survey (SHEU), we understand that youth vaping and smoking are current challenges that schools face. Whilst numbers of childrens taking up smoking has declined in recent years, the number of children using vapes has tripled over the past 3 years, with 20.5% of children reported to have tried vaping in March – April of this year.

Vaping can be a useful quid aid for adults, and due to no tobacco content, is likely less harmful than smoking. However, the advice is very clear: if you don’t smoke, don’t vape. Due to the nicotine content and potential for long-term harms that we may be unaware of, vaping does carry a risk of harm and addiction for children.

On 4th October, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation, a paper setting out proposed action to protect future generations from the harms of smoking by creating the first smokefree generation. Within this includes proposals to address youth vaping and ensure the law is enforced. The UK Government has launched a consultation on the proposed action, and specifically asks questions in 3 areas for which new legislation is needed:

  • Creating a smoke free generation: consulting on the policy and its scope.
  • Tackling youth vaping: consulting on several options to ensure we take the most appropriate and impactful steps.
  • Enforcement: consulting on the proposal to introduce new powers for local authorities in England and Wakes to issue fixed penalty notices to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and vapes.

We know that this is an important and prominent issue for schools, and this consultation provides an opportunity for school staff and leaders to have their say and help to influence future policy and legislation.

The consultation closes on 6th December at 23:59, and you can share your views in the consultation by completing the online survey. You can choose to response as an individual sharing your professional views or on behalf of your organisation.

If you need information and signposting on this topic, take a look at what’s available in our PSHE section: Smoking & Vaping – Devon Schools Wellbeing Partnership.

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