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E-cigarette use A look at how school nurses can address this growing trend

02 December 2023
Volume 4 · Issue 6


Over recent years, the prevalence of teenage vaping in the UK has significantly increased. (NHS Digital, 2022), making this a key area of concern for school nurses. This paper will examine the attitudes of adolescents toward vaping and their reasons for doing so. It will also consider the current ways in which adolescent vaping is addressed in education and by school nurses. Further approaches and recommendations which may enhance school nursing practice will also be considered.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes, are devices which were intended to be used to assist an individual with reducing the number of traditional cigarettes they smoke, or cease smoking completely. The practice of using e-cigarettes is known as vaping (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022). In e-cigarettes, liquid which usually contains nicotine, the addictive substance found in traditional cigarettes, is heated to create a vapour which is then inhaled (CDC, 2022). E-cigarettes come in a variety of models; early generation e-cigarettes were disposable and designed to resemble the look of a traditional cigarette, whereas newer models tend to be larger in size and rechargeable (Action on Smoking and Health [ASH], 2021).

Despite it being illegal to purchase any e-cigarettes or vaping liquid in the United Kingdom for anyone below the age of 18 years (Rubery, 2022), a survey completed in 2022 by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) reported that 7% of young people aged 11–17 were current e-cigarette users; this represents an increase of 3.7% from 2021 (ASH, 2022a). The survey also showed that the use of disposable products among young people aged 11–17 who vapped increased from 7.7% in 2021, to 52% in 2022 (ASH, 2022a).

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