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Young people share their views on how authorities can tackle youth vaping

07 February 2024

A group of people sat at tables watching a presentation

Organisations in West Northants heard first-hand from, Young Healthwatch, about how they can help tackle youth vaping as part of a multi-agency summit to better understand the challenges associated with this, and how we can work as one to tackle the increasing issue.

Youth vaping continues to be a priority issue for many organisations in West Northamptonshire including; schools, health colleagues, councillors, parish councils and council services like public health, waste and recycling, community safety and trading standards. With the concern shared with many parents, relatives and even some young people themselves with these audiences supporting the work underway.

The Vaping Summit took place Monday 5 February and brought together these organisations to take the first step in developing a strategy to tackle this head on.

Work underway to date includes working closely with schools to develop and distribute resources on how they can support young people with acknowledgement that further resources are needed, as well as engagement with children and young people to gain further insight. Our Trading Standards team continue to ramp up activity as they have seen a significant increase from illegal vape seizures in 2023-to date (284,000 vapes) compared to 2022/23 seizures (1500 vapes), showing the scale of the rapid increase in availability and the issue at hand. This includes a large scale seizure from a warehouse in Northampton, which prevented £2.7 million worth of vapes being sold in West Northamptonshire. In addition to this, the Trading Standards team in 23/24 to date have tested 40 premises reported to be selling vapes to those underage to purchase them, with an overall non-compliance of 43% which is again up from the previous year.

The recent announcement from the Government regarding the ban on disposal vapes is very much welcome and this will no doubt help to tackle the onward rise in youth vaping we are seeing. However, listening to the issues raised and speaking to the young people themselves – there is more that we can do locally to further tackle this issue and build on the commitment many partners have made.

Our recent Health and Wellbeing strategy for West Northants sets out how together, we aim to help our young people have the ‘best start in life’ and that includes giving them the right information and support to say no to vaping or to help them stop if they are already doing so. A core focus for us next is going to be how we further work and seek feedback from young people and their parents we can implement the right actions going forwards.
Cllr Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at WNC
It is alarming to see an increase in shops selling vapes and tobacco-based items to people under the legal age of 18. As part of our commitment to tackling youth vaping, we will seek to seize illicit vapes and take action where we find non-compliance from those selling these items. By hearing from young people first-hand, we can better understand how we can all work together to tackle this head on.

WNC will be working with young people to develop and deliver their plan to reduce vaping in young people, which includes developing a communications campaign, developing support for schools, parents, and young people, and working with partners across the system to deliver this.
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services at WNC
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