Smoking remains the largest cause of preventable deaths in the UK. In the last decade, the number of children and young people who take up smoking has been in decline. In 2018, the proportion of children and you people who have ever smoked in the UK was 16%, the lowest since recording began in 1952.

However, the rise in vaping amongst children and young people in recent years is of concern. The proportion of children and young people who use vapes regularly increased from 3% to 7.6% between 2021 to 2023. Experimentation with vapes has also risen from 13.9% in 2021 to 20.5% in 2023. Seeing vapes in shops and portrayed positively on social media have contributed to the increase in awareness of vapes, and desire to use.

[1] Hopkinson N, Lester-George A, Ormiston-Smith N, Cox A, Arnott D. Child uptake of smoking by area across the UK. Thorax. 2013;69(9):873-875.
[2] Department of Health and Social Care. Towards a smoke-free generation: a tobacco control plan for England. 2017.