TEACHERS are warning parents that children as young as 11 may be vaping – as the new school year begins.
Schools across the country have been urging parents to look for signs of e-cigarette use following the deaths of five youngsters in the US.
Parents are being warned children as young as 11 may be vaping[/caption]
It comes as vaping is becoming increasingly difficult to prevent on school premises – with the fact it often just smells like perfume and does not set off smoke alarms.
In particular, teachers are especially worried about the “iPhone of e-cigarettes” known as Juul.
Juul products, which have been used by stars including Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner, can easily be passed off as a memory stick and will fit in a pencil case given it’s small, slick design – and it’s flavours including apple and berry appeal to teens.
Amy Sellars, an assistant head at the independent school Latymer Upper in west London, has written to parents warning them what to look out for, The Times reports.
She said: “A lot of parents have been caught unaware by this because the marketing is on Instagram and other social media sites where teenagers go and which adults don’t use.
“In fact one of the selling-points is it’s so cool parents don’t even know about it.”
She went onto discuss a lung condition plaguing vapers in the US and the first reported death linked to e-cigarettes – which has since risen to five.
Ms Sellars added: “Vaping is billed as safer than cigarettes so the health risks are being talked down. The thing is it could be just as dangerous. We just don’t know yet.”
The teacher said that lessons on the dangers of vaping need to start when kids are 11 – before “peer pressure” kicks in.
Staff at private girls school, Wimbledon High, in London, have also written to parents about Juul products, warning that they “resemble a USB stick”.
Vaping requires far greater vigilance than smoking ever did from parents and teachers
Ben Turner, assistant head
Ben Turner, assistant head, said parents should look out for them being plugged into a laptop to charge.
He said: “Teenagers want to push against boundaries but the very brilliant nature of the marketing makes vaping really pernicious, claiming it is so much safer than cigarettes without knowing the long-term consequences.”
Public Health England says the number of kids who have tried vaping has doubled in four years.
It said 16 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds were users or had tried it in the past year, compared with eight per cent in 2014.
Teachers are warning parents about the ‘iPhone of e-cigarettes’ known as Juul – given it looks like a USB stick[/caption]
How safe are e-cigarettes in the UK?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
A spokesperson for Juul Labs emphasised that it “categorically” did not want “anyone underage or any non-smoker using our product” and that its mission was to help adults quit smoking.
The warnings come as Public Health England is being urged by medical experts to review its safety advice following a spike of mysterious and life-threatening lung diseases – believed to be linked to vaping – over the summer.
However, Public Health England claimed it was standing by advice that the devices are 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.
In the US, five people are now reported to have died from vaping-related lung illnesses.
While more than 215 people, mostly otherwise healthy and in their teens or 20s, have shown up at hospitals with breathing difficulties.
Often they’ve also suffered with vomiting, fever and fatigue for several days prior.
Some have even ended up in intensive care on a ventilator for several weeks.
It’s prompted health bosses to issue a warning while they investigate the issue.
More on vaping
The US’s health protection agency, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that people should “consider restraining from using e-cigarette products”.
So far, officials say the cause is unknown, but they are carrying out investigations.
Dr Melodi Pirzada, chief paediatric pulmonologist in Mineola, New York, told The New York Times the outbreak is “becoming an epidemic… something is very wrong.”
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