E-cigarettes 'not encouraging youngsters to smoke'
Electronic cigarettes are not encouraging young people to take up smoking, research by a health charity has shown.
Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) found no evidence that young people are being recruited to smoking through using e-cigarettes, despite a rise in the number of 11 to 18-year-olds who claim to have tried the vaporiser.
In 2013, 4% of 11 to 18-year-olds said they had tried e-cigarettes "once or twice", but in 2015 the figure had risen to 10%.
However, regular use remained rare with 2.4% of young people claiming to use the devices at least once a month.
Regular smoking among 11 to 15-year-olds is at an all-time low of 3%, according to Government figures. Ash claims this indicates that the increase in awareness and use of e-cigarettes has not coincided with a rise in teenage smokers.
The authors noted that there was a rise in the number of young people who thought e-cigarettes were as harmful as smoking tobacco.
Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Ash, said: "These results should reassure the public that electronic cigarettes are not linked with any rise in young people smoking. Although more young people are trying electronic cigarettes and many more young people are aware of them, this has not led to widespread regular use or an increase in smoking."
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: "This survey provides further confirmation that regular use of electronic cigarettes is still low and largely confined to young people who are already smokers.
"The new law prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to young people under the age of 18 - which is due to take effect on 1 October - will further reduce teenagers' access to these products and will reinforce the message that they are intended for adult smokers who want to cut down or stop smoking."