Don’t Smoke? Don’t start to Vape.

In the UK, the proportion of 11 to 17-year-olds that have vaped has increased from 13.9% in 2020 to 20.5% in 2023. 

School support for Vaping

With concerns about the increase in young people vaping, it is important for pupils to understand the impact vaping can have on their health and wellbeing and for parents and guardians to know how to have conversations surrounding vaping. 

In response, new resources have been developed to raise awareness about the risks of youth vaping.

  • A short animated film with facts about vaping, to help start discussions in PSHE lessons, form times and assemblies.

  • A leaflet for parents and carers, to support positive conversations about the risks of smoking and vaping, the law, and the impact on the environment. 

  • A poster that can be printed and displayed in public areas.


The resources present these key messages:

  • Vapes are significantly less harmful than tobacco, but they are not harmless

  • Vapes have proven to be successful in helping adult smokers to stop

  • Most children and young people do not smoke or vape

  • Short-term effects of vaping include coughing, dizziness, sore throat and headaches have been recognised, but the long-term effects are not yet known.

  • Vapes and vaping products which contain nicotine are age-restricted and shouldn’t be sold to or bought for under 18s.

  • Disposable single-use vapes harm the environment, with many hard-to-recycle disposable vapes finding their way into landfill, where they  break down and release dangerous chemicals.

The overall message to children and young people is: Don’t smoke? Don’t start to vape.

Better Health has also launched new educational vaping resources to help teachers start these discussions. 

The Law and Vaping

There has been a rise in reports across the UK of school children using vaping products. Vapes and vaping products which contain nicotine are age restricted and should not be sold to or bought for under 18s. If you are aware of illegal sales please report it to trading standards: 

Advertising of all tobacco products is illegal, but if you see advertising for vapes that you feel is trying to encourage children and young people to try vaping, you can report it to the Advertising Standards Authority:

More information on trading standards for businesses can be found online.

Disposing of vapes

Vapes, disposable or rechargeable, should be recycled as electronics. They should not be put into the general waste or recycling bin as vapes contain lithium-ion batteries which pose a fire risk. The two best options for disposing vapes are:

  1. Take them to our Household Reuse and Recycling Centre at Kimpton Park Way along with any other Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). 

  2. Large vaping shops are likely to have dedicated bins or an in-store solution for disposal. This is a legal requirement for businesses which sell more than £100,000 of vapes

Further information regarding electrical waste responsibilities can be found on the website.