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Public health

E-cigarettes in young people


  • Use of e-cigarettes in young people is rising (currently 8%)

  • There is debate as to whether use of e-cigarettes could increase initiation of tobacco smoking or other drugs and drive addictive patterns in the adolescent brain

  • The US outbreak of e-cigarette vaping associated lung injuries (EVALI) between 2019-2020 reflects the need to remain vigilant (vitamin E acetate and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were additives implicated here)

  • National guidelines support use of e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking intervention >18yrs, but many GPs are hesitant to promote them due to there being a lack of evidence about long-term impacts

  • A personalised approach to smoking cessation is needed, with proactive health promotion in primary users of e-cigarettes to reduce use


WiseGP Approach

  • Actively enquire about vape use and the substances taken (offering young people somewhere private to talk and reassuring them about confidentiality). Discuss potential risks and highlight the ecological harm from disposable vape use to promote smoking cessation.

  • Consider sharing health promotional advice on smoking cessation and e-cigarettes on screens in your practice reception or via your practice social media accounts.


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