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There has been a rise in the number of school children in England vaping, with 9% of 11 to 15 year olds currently using e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018, and over half (57%) of regular e-cigarette users are purchasing them from shops, according to the latest data from NHS Digital, the national information and technology partner for the health and care system.

The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021 report found that 61% of regular e-cigarette users said other people gave them e-cigarettes, the most common of whom were friends (45%). 

Buying from any kind of shop increased from 29% in 2018, to 57% in 2021, with newsagents the most common type of shop (41%), followed by e-cigarette shops (27%), supermarkets (13%), garage shops (10%), and other shops (10%), while just a quarter were bought online.

The report also found that cigarette smoking has decreased among school children, with 3% of pupils claiming to be current smokers, a decline from 5% in 2018.

Regular smokers who are also regular e-cigarette users more than doubled, from 29% of regular smokers in 2018 to 61% in 2021, while 18% of all 15 year olds were current e-cigarette users. 

Current e-cigarette use for 15 year old girls increased from 10% in 2018 to 21% (around one in five) in 2021. 

This follows on from the publication of research from age verification solution provider 1account, which shows that children and young people illegally buying disposable vapes are more likely to do so in physical bricks and mortar stores rather than online.

Click here to see the UK Vaping Industry Association’s Preventing Underage Sales Guide.