The message that vaping is 95% safer than smoking has backfired, encouraging some children to vape, says a top health expert.
Dr Mike McKean treats children with lung conditions and is vice-president for policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He says the 2015 public messaging should have been clearer - vapes are only for adults addicted to cigarettes.
Evidence on the possible health risks of vaping is still being gathered.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Dr McKean said: "Vaping is not for children and young people. In fact it could be very bad for you," although he stresses that it is not making lots of children very sick, and serious complications are rare.
"Vaping is only a tool for adults who are addicted to cigarettes."
He says the 95% safe messaging was "a very unwise thing to have done and it's opened the door to significant chaos".
"There are many children, young people who have taken up vaping who never intended to smoke and are now likely addicted to vaping. And I think it's absolutely shocking that we've allowed that to happen."
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Source: BBC News, 26 September 2023