E-cigarette use among young people has fallen for the first time in Wales, according to research by Cardiff University.

But the decline in 11 to 16-year-olds smoking has stalled, the study found.

The 2019 Student Health and Wellbeing Survey asked more than 100,000 pupils from 198 secondary schools across Wales about their smoking habits.

The findings show 22% of young people had tried an e-cigarette, down from 25% in 2017.

Those vaping weekly or more often had also declined from 3.3% to 2.5% over the same period.

By law, shops should not sell vaping products to anyone under the age of 18.

Experimenting with vaping is still more popular than trying tobacco (11%), according to the data.

But the long-term decline in those regularly smoking had stalled, with 4% of those surveyed smoking at least weekly in 2019, the same level as in 2013.

Young people from poorer backgrounds were still more likely to start smoking than those from richer families, according to the findings.

‘Dirty habit’

Abi and Sophie from Bridgend started smoking at the ages of 14 and 12.

Sophie, now 17, said: “If I wake up in a bad mood I’ll smoke around 25 to 30 fags a day. On a good day I’ll smoke 15 to 20 cigarettes a day.

“Most people who know me say they never would have guessed that I’m a smoker. I hate smoking, I despise it. It’s a dirty habit, but I rely on it for my mental health.”

Read full article here.

BBC News – October 8, 2020.

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