The potential of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids is a topic of debate and there is concern that they may act as a “gateway” to tobacco use.
Two large surveys of young people in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh government and published in BMJ Open
(online, 15 April 2015), reveal that 5.8% of primary school children (10–11 years) and 12.3% of secondary school children (11–16 years) had used e-cigarettes. Ever use of e-cigarettes was more common than ever use of tobacco for all age groups except the oldest (15–16 years).
Among secondary school children, only 1.5% used the devices regularly (at least once a month). Regular use was more likely among current tobacco smokers and those who smoked cannabis.
Chief medical officer for Wales Ruth Hussey says: “I am concerned that e-cigarettes could normalise smoking among a generation which has grown up in a largely smoke-free society.”