The alarming statistics showing an increase in vaping among girls as researchers warn it is the “pathway to nicotine addiction”.

Teens whose parents smoke are 55 percent more likely to try e-cigarettes, according to a new Irish study.

The study, presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, ​​Spain, showed how vaping continues to gain momentum, with the number of teenagers aged 16-17 who tried the flavored nicotine in a vape increasing by 23 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2019.

The Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland (TFRI) in Dublin also looked at data from 6,216 people aged 17 to 18 and examined information on whether their parents smoked during childhood.

The study showed that teens whose parents smoked were about 55 percent more likely to have tried e-cigarettes and 51 percent more likely to have tried smoking.

Boys are more likely to use e-cigarettes, but the rate of use among girls is increasing faster.

Teens said the main reason for experimenting with vaping was curiosity, with 66pc citing this while 29pc said they did so because their friends were using them.

Only 3pc said they would vape to quit regular cigarettes.

The proportion of those who said they had never used tobacco when trying e-cigarettes for the first time increased to 68 percent from 32 percent in 2015.

The Institute’s Director General, Prof Luke Clancy, said: “We have seen an increasing use of e-cigarettes among Irish teenagers and this pattern is emerging elsewhere in the world.


Stock photo of a man exhaling while using a vaping product. PA photo

“There is a perception that vaping is a better alternative to smoking, but our research shows that this is not the case for teens who typically have not tried cigarettes before using e-cigarettes.

“This suggests that for teens, vaping is more of a route into nicotine addiction than out of it.”

He said data from 3,421 16-year-olds examined whether there were differences between boys and girls in vape use.

While boys were more likely to try or use e-cigarettes, it was found that girls gained popularity faster.

23 percent of girls reported trying e-cigarettes in 2015, but that number rose to 39 percent in 2019. In 2015, one in ten was currently vaping, but that number rose to 18 percent in 2019.

Peer pressure and lack of parental supervision were among the factors behind vaping.

Disposable vapes, which are cheaper than off-the-shelf products, are now being targeted at teenagers on social media

PhD student Salome Sunday told Congress: “We see that parents and friends have an impact on teenagers’ decision to try vaping and this is important because we can try to change these factors.

“However, governments must do their part by enacting legislation to protect children and young people. We already do this with smoking and we need to do the same with vaping.”

The lead researcher Dr. Joan Hanafin said: “We are seeing the number of teenagers using e-cigarettes changing rapidly so we need to continue to monitor the situation in Ireland and around the world.

“We also plan to examine social media to understand how this affects vaping behaviors of girls and boys.”


“The number of teens using e-cigarettes is changing rapidly”. Photo: archive image

In response to the research, Professor Jonathan Grigg, Chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee, said: “These findings are worrying, not just for teenagers in Ireland but for families around the world. We already know that children of smoking parents are more likely to start smoking.”

Disposable vapes, which are cheaper than off-the-shelf products, are now being targeted at teenagers on social media.

A spokeswoman for Vape Business Ireland (VBI) said from the start: “Our association has made it clear that vaping products should only be accessible to adult ex-smokers and our members adopt and follow a strict code of conduct.

“VBI hopes that a ban on the sale of e-cigarette products to under 18s, as outlined in the General Scheme of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products Bill), will be enacted as soon as possible.”

She said VBI is committed to ensuring the Irish vaping market acts responsibly.

“As such, the immediate priority is to pass legislation that prevents under-18s from having access to vaping devices – disposable or otherwise,” she added. The alarming statistics showing an increase in vaping among girls as researchers warn it is the “pathway to nicotine addiction”.

Fry Electronics Team

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