BRITAIN is facing a vaping epidemic as the number of teens experimenting with e-cigs has doubled in five years, an expert warns.
Dr Aaron Scott said the crisis was likely to get worse, as seen in the US.
There, more than one in four high school students have vaped. The warning comes after it was revealed Ewan Fisher, 16, of Nottingham, was left with “catastrophic” lung problems when he took up e-cigarettes.
Action on Smoking and Health said British 11 to 18-year-olds experimenting with vaping rose from 8.1 per cent to 15.4 per cent in the past five years.
Dr Scott, of Birmingham University, who was behind a report earlier this year blasting health specialists for promoting e-cigarettes, said youngsters were being lured into vaping by marketing aimed at them.
He said: “The US took up e-cigarettes before the UK and they are a look at the future for us. In America 40 per cent of kids have tried them by 18.”
Dr Scott said that the marketing was geared towards younger and younger users with flavours named after the sweet brand Skittles and fruit flavours such as mango.
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He said: “It does not take much to become a nicotine addict and e-cigarettes are a gateway device.”
He refuted Public Health England’s claim that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent healthier than smoking and said that vapers are “blinding themselves to the risk of lung disease”.
Doctors who treated Ewan in hospital have warned people should regard e-cigs as safer than tobacco “at their peril”.