Two boys sitting on a step with cigarettes in hand.

The Shocking Truth About Children and Electronic Cigarettes

Two boys sitting on a step with cigarettes in hand.

It’s the rallying call of both the Anti-Smoking movement and the Anti-Electronic Cigarette movement.

Think of the children.

It’s also the strongest arguments of an EU lobby calling for an effective ban on e-cigarettes as they are today.

But the play on the fears and emotions of the public ignore some important questions.

  • Are children using electronic cigarettes?
  • If so, are these children being lead into nicotine usage, or are they children who would otherwise be smoking?
  • Who is allowing electronic cigarettes to be sold to children?

E-Cigarette Use by Children in the UK

Fortunately, e-cigarette usage has been carefully measured by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK.

I’ve summarised their results in a mini info-graphic.

Infographic displaying the results of a 2012 Action on Smoking and Health survey into children's usage of electronic cigarettes.

Share this Image On Your Site

To summarise:

  • most children do not use electronic cigarettes
  • those few who do are already smokers
  • governments allow children to use e-cigarettes
  • reputable retailers do not sell to children.

In fact, here in the UK, the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association does not allow any of its 30 plus members to market towards children.

However, government and EU rules DO allow e-cigs to be sold to children, so we are in the curious position of being attacked for something the government allows, but retailers do not.

Anti E-Cigarette Bodies Push For Sales to Children, Protect Big Tobacco and Big Pharm Sales

Pack of cigarettes in a shopping cart.
Sale of tobacco cigarettes would be protected if e-cigarettes were banned.

Worse that, some bodies calling for ecigs are campaigning against bans on children.

Cancer America explicitly stated:

it [blocking sales of e-cigarettes to children] sets the stage for tobacco companies to claim they are protecting children via this legislation…

Or in other words, if children are allowed to use e-cigs, organisations like Cancer America can claim that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking for children, which supports their efforts for a ban on e-cigarettes.

Naturally, if e-cigarettes are banned, or if access is limited to e-cigarettes, there will be only two winners.

The big pharmaceutical companies that sell stop smoking products.

And the big tobacco companies that sell tobacco cigarettes.

So what’s the shocking truth?

The words shocking truth displayed on a red background.

The shocking truth is that while that e-cigarette companies are being attacked for selling e-cigarettes to children despite the fact:

  • the only children using them are smokers
  • the industry is trying to prevent children using e-cigarettes
  • government allow children to use e-cigarettes
  • at least one anti-ecigarette body is actively blocking legislation aimed at stopping children from using e-cigarettes

Find this post useful? Please share using one of the buttons below.

14 thoughts on “The Shocking Truth About Children and Electronic Cigarettes”

  1. I’m glad that has been vindicated and with outlets getting tough on normal cigarettes it seems to me that children are less likely to smoke at all which must be a good thing.

    Trying the Vype this week I found it quite weak and I think if that is what e-cigs will become then a real shame as we lose the moment of choice.

    And of course it is a false economy where we are forced to use lower nicotines, I have the full on 36mg sometimes and I use that less than the lighter 12mg, locking the max down to a ridiculous amount will just cause people to need and want more whereas my VariVolt storm say on 4.2v gunning a 36mg gives a very good hit and I have two or three good goes and don’t touch it for ages.

    1. Have there been any indepth studies on the actual mechanics per se of e-cigs? The absorption rate and ratio to the nicotine strength and delivery medium?

      I have wondered about this before as smoke is an air medium and therefore more likely to have a high nicotine absorption rate whereas steam is a water medium and therefore logically have a lower absorption rate I would have thought making very low nicotine levels quite ineffective.

      1. Several studies found that nicotine absorption was lower with ecigs (this was criticised by the antis for some reason) while this was more of a problem in earlier models nicotine absorption still seems to be a little bit lower. A Murray Laugesen study found that vapour tends to be absorbed in a different way to cigarette smoke, not in the lungs but in airways passages.

  2. it’s a shame government’s around the world are having such a hard time finding a way to make up for lost revenue from tobacco sale’s while people are “dying” for a alternative to cigarette smoking.

    1. Quite! This is what one EU MEP said:

      According to a recent report by ANSA (Italian news agency) of 21 April 2013, in the first two months of 2013 alone, Italy’s coffers registered a loss of EUR 132 million, corresponding to a fall in revenue from duty on tobacco of approximately 7.6%. Of course, this shortfall cannot be completely blamed on the increasing use of electronic cigarettes, but it is certainly partly responsible.

      In light of the above, can the Council state what action it intends to take to address the differences in tax revenue materialising in State coffers following the proliferation of electronic cigarettes, which currently appear to be free from any form of duty?


  3. Don’t you just love the way these politicos (never mind the media) just can’t help parading their ignorance? “Free from any form of duty”? Unless they do things VERY differently indeed in Italy, I don’t think so.

    James, would you care to point out what the rates of import duty and VAT are on any of your products which come into the UK from outside the EU? As a business, no doubt your company recovers the VAT but then collects it again when the products are sold (then hands it over to HMRC) but import duty is not recoverable at all as I understand it.

    I would also imagine that as a responsible limited company, you not only pay VAT on your sales over to HMRC but also PAYE and National Insurance contributions on behalf of your staff and directos – and indeed Corporation Tax if the company is making profits as well.

    It frankly makes my blood boil when people suggest that the e-cig industry is not contributing to the UK economy in exactly the same way as any other business does – unless you are in the same league as Amazon, Starbucks etc; and of course the multinational pharmaceutical giants!!

    1. I agree about the jobs as yes the physical parts are made in China but invariably the nicotine from there is not so trusted so companies use British outlets for their nicotine, flavours and dilutents etc which starts to add up work and revenue wise.

      I would love to get some figures from the Chinese wholesalers as it was said to me by a lovely young lady from one of them that it was us British that was driving the demand which in turn leads to cheaper products, safer products, more efficient products, still too no medical problems reported other than injuries from exploding fake batteries or ingestion of nicotine

      1. But HAVE there been any reports of anyone harming themselves by ‘ingesting nicotine’? I’m not aware of any, myself – in fact the only time I ever heard of someone overdosing on nicotine was the idiot teenager who plastered himself with patches he had been given AT SCHOOL who put himself in hospital. (He recovered perfectly fine, too)

        Incidents with faulty batteries, while regrettable, are nothing new and thankfully rare. The media tend not to make such a song and dance about it but issues have been reported with (for instance) mobile phone and laptop batteries in just the same way. Treating lithium batteries with reasonable care and respect – and following the suppliers’ advice and instructions for charging is just basic common sense. Which regrettably, you cannot legislate for!

    2. We pay a standard 20 percent of VAT – not sure of the import duty as I don’t deal with that area but I will try to find out! PAYE and NI too and we’re proud of the fact that we pay more than the minimum wage and the living wage.

  4. Children or rather teenagers will do all sorts of things they’re not supposed to do. Like smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and having sex. Using an e cig would be the least harmful thing they could do I would have thought.

    If they really thought about the children they would be encouraging those parents that smoke to switch to e cigs. Even so adults are not children and have a perfect right to indulge in adult pursuits.

  5. Pingback: E-Cig Regulation: Thoughts from Vapers and Experts

  6. Pingback: ECigarette Academy: Essential Need to Know for New Vapers

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top