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Vaping among school pupils in West Berkshire to be cut, say council and health chiefs

A new report says that the number of children vaping in the West Berkshire area has significantly increased year on year.

Now schools are being given talks and presentations to stop young people doing it.

New report says the number of children vaping in the district has significantly increased
New report says the number of children vaping in the district has significantly increased

A recent survey across the Berkshire West health services area showed 17-year-olds are most likely to have tried vaping (35.8 per cent) and of the 326 pupils who answered the survey that they had ever tried a vape, 29.1 per cent answered that they use them ‘every day/ almost every day’.

The most frequent responses to the question ‘where do you usually get your vape from?’ was ‘given to them by friends/ family’ (39.4 per cent) and ‘buy them myself’ (31.1 per cent).

This is similar to the national picture.

The Public Protection Partnership has undertaken 22 visits within the last academic year.

According to a report before Friday’s Health and Wellbeing Board in West Berkshire, it is anticipated that, given the increasing prevalence of vaping among school children, additional visits can be undertaken this academic year but in order to do so more resource will be needed.

It says to undertake this work and to reduce the impact of vaping among young people in West Berkshire, those involved in delivering this type of work need to ensure they are up to date with the latest information in respect of vapes from a health, environmental and Government perspective and adapt their presentations and material accordingly.

Communications are posted on various social media platforms to educate and inform parents and pupils.

Vaping presentations and workshops are offered, highly sought after and routinely delivered to secondary school pupils across the area and on occasions their parents.

A podcast has also been completed and is available to all secondary schools to access and utilise (PSHE4you Episode 14 – Vaping (youtube.com)).

The school’s harm reduction educative drama production Risking it All, which took place at numerous secondary schools across West Berkshire during the first week of February 2024, included scenes relating to the dangers of vaping among young people.

The service has also attended information stands at Newbury College and has undertaken presentations with the students there.

In addition to the above, there are a number of campaigns currently in place which are aimed at smoking reduction which could act as templates in approaches to convey similar positive messaging around reducing vaping in children.

The service is working to lock into locally agreed campaigns targeted towards reducing vaping among young people on a more formal footing.

The UK Government wants to bring about the first ‘smokefree generation’ by 2030, having pledged to introduce legislation to make it illegal for any person born on or after January 1, 2009, to purchase tobacco products.

To help ensure its success, new Government funding will be provided to Trading Standards to implement measures to reduce opportunities for associated criminality.

On January 29, 2024, the Government announced that disposable vapes will be banned in the UK as part of plans to address the rise in youth vaping.

The measure comes as part of the response to the Government’s smoking and vaping consultation which took place between October to December 2023.

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