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Detection of vaping among children ‘may be more difficult’ than


Mar 20, 2023

A new study has been released showing how little some parents may be aware of their child’s vaping habits.

In the poll of 1,325 parents, 3% of parents of teens aged 15 to 18 said their child vaped, while just 1% of people with children aged 11 to 14 said they did.

That’s far lower than the US national averages, which found in 2022, about 3% of middle schoolers and 14% of high school students vaped in the previous 30 days.

“This relatively high level of vaping suggests that parents should not assume their child is not vaping,” the study said.

In the UK, 9% of schoolchildren aged 11 to 15 years old reported vaping in 2021, up from 6% in 2018, the last time the study was carried out.

Vaping was most popular among 15-year-old girls with more than a fifth saying they were current e-cigarette users.

The report on parents’ views on vaping was by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, part of the University of Michigan, which runs national polls on children’s health.

It found most parents (48%) believed they would definitely know or probably know (40%) if their child was vaping.

Parents said they would know because their child would tell them (67%), they would find vape supplies in their child’s things (57%), they would smell it (48%), or find out from other people (37%).

The report cautioned parents that “detection may be more difficult than parents realise”.

Vapes do not give off the same smell as cigarettes, the cartridges often look like USB sticks or other innocuous objects and disposable vapes are small and easy to buy, use and throw away.

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“Vaping is easy to hide from teachers and parents, even when done in indoor areas like bedrooms, bathrooms and classrooms,” the report said.

“It is likely that parents would have an especially hard time knowing if their child was using disposable vapes.”

The study also revealed most parents believe their children are clued up on the health risks of vaping, which include chronic bronchitis, exacerbation of asthma, and swelling and irritation of the lungs.

“Although 4 in 5 parents in this Mott Poll felt their child recognises these risks, it may be unrealistic to expect adolescents to consider long-term health effects,” the report said.


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