- Teacher warns that ‘addicted’ pupils are leaving lessons to vape in toilets
- Some are struggling to sleep at night as they are ‘desperate to vape’, it is claimed
Fears over Britain’s vaping epidemic are growing amid claims from an MP that eight children from a single school were hospitalised after using e-cigarettes.
Conservative MP Dr Caroline Johnson said the pupils, who were all from a secondary school in her Lincolnshire constituency, were admitted to hospital ‘at different times over the last few months’.
Teachers have warned that students becoming addicted and are leaving lessons or struggling to sleep through the night because they are ‘desperate to vape’, she said.
The MP – who is calling for a ban on disposable vapes – expressed deep concern about the accessibility and appeal to youngsters.
Speaking ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, Dr Johnson said: ‘A number of children in my constituency have collapsed after vaping.
‘My understanding from the local school is that now eight children from one school in my constituency have required hospital treatment.
‘Not all at the same time, at different times over the last few months, just immediately after they had been vaping.
READ MORE: Vape warning as primary school kids are being rushed to hospital with collapsed and bleeding lungs due to excessive use of illegal e-cigs
‘These are secondary school-aged children.’
Dr Johnson said a concerning picture also emerged regarding the growing addiction to vaping among children after talking to a teacher.
She said: ‘I was talking to a teacher from my constituency just recently who said that she has pupils in her school who are struggling to get through a double maths lesson because they need to go out and vape.
‘They are vaping in their school bathrooms in between lessons.
‘Some of them are struggling with a whole night’s sleep because they’re waking up desperate to have a vape, and so the degree to which some of our children are getting addicted to these things is really very concerning.’
Back in February, Dr Johnson presented a 10-minute rule Bill to ban the sale of disposable vapes and will lead a Westminster Hall debate on the topic on Thursday.
Dr Johnson said the aim of her debate on Thursday will be to ‘get more pressure’ on the government to do something as quickly as possible.
The Tory MP will make the case for a vape tax to ‘both raise revenue but most specifically to make them much less accessible to our children and young people’, and for stricter regulations around their sale ‘like we do for alcohol’.
On her campaign to ban disposable vapes, she said: ‘The disposable vapes are the most attractive to children.
‘They are cheap, they are easily accessible. They are easy to dispose of, if you are in danger of being caught using them by an adult. They are also in pretty colours and there’s a whole range of child-friendly sort of flavours.’
Dr Johnson said that after introducing her 10-minute rule Bill, she had a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who ‘was very interested in the topic’.
She added: ‘He is committed to ensuring that children don’t have access to vapes.’
In May, ministers pledged to close a loophole allowing retailers to give free samples of vapes to children in England amid concerns over the proportion of children trying e-cigarettes.
The government said there will also be a review into banning retailers selling ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to under-18s and one into the rules on issuing fines to shops that illegally sell vapes to children.
Ministers cited NHS figures from 2021 which showed that 9% of 11-15-year-olds used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018.
The crackdown will also see the health risks of vaping included in relationships, sex and health education lessons, as part of the ongoing government review of the curriculum.
Dr Johnson said: ‘I’m hoping to get some time frames from the debate on how quickly they expect to be able to move, but I’m hoping they will be able to get something in pretty quickly.’