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Caerphilly Health South Wales

Young people worried about ‘normalisation’ of underage vaping

TACKLING underage vaping is one of the most pressing issues for young people in Caerphilly, according to the county borough’s Youth Forum.

Caerphilly Council’s cabinet heard on Wednesday how young people are worried about the “accessibility and affordability” of vapes in shops, and about a “lack of age identification checks”.

A member of the Youth Forum told the meeting about the “peer pressure and normalisation of vaping among young people”, including pupils vaping on school buses.

The flavours and colours of vapes had an “appeal” to younger people, the cabinet members heard.

The council’s Youth Forum group is planning a new project to address this “priority issue” for 2024.

Their work begins while the issue also comes under national scrutiny, as the UK and Welsh governments both pursue bans on disposable vapes as part of new anti-smoking legislation.

Cabinet members including council leader Sean Morgan praised the Youth Forum for highlighting the issue.

Cllr Morgan agreed brightly-coloured vapes with “tutti-frutti flavours” could appeal to young children, something he called a “great concern to many people”.

Cabinet members heard vaping was “very prevalent in schools across the area”.

Cllr Morgan said reports of pupils vaping on buses was “something our school transport department can take a look at”.

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He also suggested young people could add to the national conversation around vaping by pursuing a petition to the Welsh Parliament, calling for action.

With Caerphilly’s Youth Forum alone containing 2,500 members, the 10,000 threshold for having petitions debated in the Senedd could easily be achieved if the group was to “unite” with their counterparts in other areas of Wales, Cllr Morgan said.

Other issues shortlisted by the Youth Forum following this year’s conference were the need to spread advice about the cost of living, community safety on public transport and at night, educating young people about body positivity, and the desire for more bins to discourage littering.