Vaping: The facts

Don't smoke? Don't start to vape. With raphic of 3 different shapes vapes.

Between 12 October and 6 December, the government consulted on proposed action to protect future generations from the harms of smoking, by creating the first smokefree generation. Read our response to the 'Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping' consultation (PDF, 208.9 KB).

Recent figures suggest the number of Kent’s children who smoke is continuing to decline. However, there has been an increase in the number of children and young people who are currently using vapes and e-cigarettes.

In the UK, the proportion of 11 to 17-year-olds that are currently vaping has increased from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022.

Although this is a cause for concern, it’s worth noting that 92% of under 18s who have never smoked, have also never vaped, and only 2% have vaped more frequently than once or twice.

Most youth vaping is experimental and most young people who vape have already tried smoking, which is far more harmful and is highly addictive.

We are working with schools and health partners across Kent to make children and young people aware of the facts about vaping.

Vapes and vaping products which contain nicotine are age restricted and shouldn’t be sold to or bought for under 18s. If you’re aware of illegal sales let us know by emailing Or report the sales through Citizens Advice Consumer helpline using their online form or chatting to an advisor online.

Any used or discarded vapes can be taken to any of our household waste recycling centres and disposed of via the Small WEEE container.

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Vaping: The facts - video transcript

The key facts

  • Uptake of smoking and vaping in young people is most common among older teenagers, although it can occur earlier.
  • Vapes are significantly less harmful than smoking and tobacco, but they are not harmless.
  • Vapes are not recommended for use by children and young people, or anyone who has never smoked, as vaping is not risk free.
  • Short term effects of coughing, dizziness, sore throats and headaches have been recognised, and the long-term effects are not yet known.
  • Vapes and vaping products which contain nicotine are age restricted and shouldn’t be sold or bought for under 18s.
  • Disposable single use vapes harm the environment, with many hard-to-recycle disposable vapes finding their way into landfill, where they break down and release dangerous chemicals

The overall message to children and young people is: Don’t smoke? Don’t start to vape.

With concerns about the increase in young people vaping, it is important for pupils to understand the impact vaping can have on their bodies and wellbeing. Better Health have launched a new resource to help teachers start these discussions.

School Zone vaping resources.