Children under five are being admitted to hospital for vaping-related conditions

By Staff 7 Min Read

The number of children being admitted to hospital for vaping-related disorders has soared by 733 per cent in the four years since 2020, with 50 admissions last year

Boys and girls aged under five are becoming so ill from vaping they are ending up in hospital – with a 733 per cent increase over four years in under 20s needing treatment.

Last year, there were 50 admissions to hospital for vaping related disorders involving children – including 11 aged four or under. In 2020, no pre-schoolers were given hospital treatment for using e-cigarettes – and only six youngsters needed hospital help. In figures from NHS England, total admissions of all people – kids and adults – for such disorders has soared by 276 per cent in the four years since 2020.

The stats, revealed in an FOI, show admissions of kids made up just six per cent of total admissions in 2020. But last year 14 per cent of the 365 vape-related hospital admissions related to patients aged 19 and under. And between 2020 and 2024, there was a 733 per cent increase in the total number of children who are being submitted to hospital for vape-related disorders.

It comes as MPs have backed a plan to ban anyone born after 2009 from buying cigarettes, effectively ensuring it will become law in the future. Experts said the rise in kids vaping was due to the child-friendly flavours and “government’s decision to allow a vaping free for all”.

Jonathan Grigg, a professor of paediatric respiratory medicine at Queen Mary University of London, co-authored a paper in 2023 warning that kids who use vapes are “more likely to take up tobacco smoking”. He said: “This increase in hospitalisations is a totally predictable consequence of the government’s decision to allow a vaping free for all – with flavours designed to be attractive to children and young people and the disastrous assumption that vaping has little or no adverse health effects.”

Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy and public affairs at Asthma + Lung UK said the figures were “deeply worrying”. She added: “Asthma + Lung UK emphasises our stance: it is already illegal to sell vapes to under 18s, and we strongly discourage non-smokers, especially children, from starting vaping. It is crucial the government takes action to prevent the vaping industry from marketing their products towards children.”

“Enforcement of the age of sale laws is also a problem and should be better resourced so that young people cannot access vapes. Our top priority is protecting the health of young people from the dangers of tobacco and preventing young people starting vaping.”

The figures, obtained in an FOI by news agency SWNS, show in 2020 97 people were admitted to hospital – including one 10 to 14-year-old and five 15-19-year-olds. In 2021, some 300 people were admitted including 19 kids – three youngsters aged ten and under, and 16 10 to 19-year-olds.

In 2022, this rose to 457 people – including 50 kids. There were 19 admissions of the youngest group, two five to nines, nine 10 to 14-year-olds and 20 aged 15 to 19-year-olds. In 2023 the total was 365 – with 50 kids again. 11 admissions were pre-school, 12 were aged 10 to 14, and 27 were 15 to 19-years-old.

Only January’s admissions have been released for 2024. A total of 20 admissions took place and three were 19 or younger. Now more females than males are admitted to hospital for vaping problems. In 2020, 46% of admissions were female, but last year it was 57 per cent.

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