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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Cumbria Health boss warns parents over cigarette-like devices

THE county’s health chief has warned parents about the potential problems involving cigarette-like devices.

Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, the interim director of Public Health Cumbria, has concerns about unregulated electronic cigarettes and non-electronic plastic cigarettes which, she says, are attractive to young people.

Dr Wagstaff has written to the parents and carers of school children in Cumbria about the growing range of devices that look like, and are used like, the traditional cigarettes they replace.

She says some e-cigs provide the user with an unknown amount of nicotine, the addictive part of a traditional cigarette, and that they are unregulated.

The public health chief says the results of trials are awaited to see if they are safe.

She warns: “Adults use them to replace traditional cigarettes, but there is growing evidence that these adults are returning to smoking traditional cigarettes and that children are using them before going on to smoking traditional cigarettes. Until these products are regulated, it is important children do not use them. The government is considering introducing a law to prevent their sale to children under 18.”

Dr Wagstaff said electronic shisha type pens which contain flavoured herbs, but do not contain nicotine, are made to imitate traditional cigarettes and are “mainly marketed for children’s use”.

She said: “There is also concern that they are leading children into smoking traditional cigarettes and so children should be discouraged from using them.”

Dr Wagstaff said non-electronic plastic cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes and could be very attractive to children and young people. She says it is very important children do not think smoking any product is safe or that it is something “normal”.

The public health director advises parents with concerns about their children smoking to speak to their school’s nurse or ring the Stop Smoking Service on 01900 324239.

Dr Wagstaff also encourages parents to speak to their children about the dangers behind fads, such as the recent, much-publicised “neknominate” craze.

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