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Toxic and addictive effects of nicotine on children and adolescents: are we sleepwalking into a public health disaster?
  1. Jonathan Coutts1,
  2. Ross John Langley2
  1. 1 Neonatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan Coutts, Neonatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK; jonathan.coutts{at}

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Livingston FC, a mid-table team in the Scottish Premier league, has announced a new sponsorship deal. This may seem of little interest to UK paediatricians, but this is the latest commercial link between sport and the vaping industry. The UK worked hard to reduce the exposure of children to combustible tobacco and its toxic by-products such as nicotine. Since the 1960s, teenage use of cigarettes has steadily decreased via a campaign highlighting negative health impacts, stopping advertising, banning use in social spaces, raising the legal age and limiting access in shops. The alarming rise, from 3% to 43%, in the number of teens using e-cigarettes/vaping (2011–2018) has effectively reversed much of this work to eliminate nicotine exposure and addiction. In the UK, the current approach and legislation for vaping products are based on the assumption that they are safer than combustible tobacco and offer harm reduction to addicts. In this article, we advocate the application of legislation similar to that which applies to other nicotine delivery devices to vaping products due to concerns over their safety profile and potential harm to children prior to birth and beyond.

Everyone knows vaping is safe, right?

Nutt et al reported that e-cigarettes are ‘95% safer’ than standard cigarettes which is frequently cited in government documents and mainstream media.1 This dramatic finding was not based on scientific review of published evidence, rather 12 invited people took part in a Delphi process. Two had financial links with the vaping industry (not declared by one), and …

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  • Contributors JC had the original idea, and then both authors had an equal contribution to writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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