ASH Scotland urges urgent action to tackle UK’s higher than average rates of vaping by 15-year-old girls 

25 April 2024

ASH Scotland is calling for urgent regulatory action in response to the World Health Organisation’s Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children report published today (Thursday 25 April 2024) which found that girls in the UK were more likely to have used an e-cigarette by the age of 15 than the average for all 44 countries involved in the study.

The international research which is based on 2021/2022 data from 4,000 children aged 11, 13 and 15 in Scotland, amongst a total of 280,000 across Europe, Central Asia and Canada, showed that two-fifths of girls in Scotland and England have vaped by the age of 15.

The report also revealed that 30% of 15-year-old girls in Scotland had vaped in the last 30 days, with levels among boys in Scotland lower at 20%.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “The WHO report finding that girls in the UK are more likely to have used e-cigarettes by the age of 15 compared to the international average in its study is distressing, and demonstrates the urgent need for regulatory action to tackle the upsurge of youth vaping.

“As youngsters are attracted to the taste and smell of fruit and sweet flavoured vaping products, as well as the devices’ colourful. designs and packaging, ASH Scotland is calling for robust UK-wide measures to be introduced at the earliest possible opportunity to restrict e-cigarette flavours and packaging intentionally marketed at children.

“We are also urging the Scottish Government to introduce its proposed tightening of the rules on the advertising and promotions of recreational vaping products without further delay. Those measures are enabled by Scottish legislation passed in 2016. While four nations agreement would be welcome, it could take time and with a General Election pending, we cannot afford to pause necessary protections for children’s health and wellbeing.

“As most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which is extremely addictive, as well as toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhalation and can damage lung health, retail marketing restrictions should be immediately introduced to eradicate the promotion and visibility of e-cigarettes in shops, on our high streets and in communities across Scotland.”

To read the WHO’s Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children report, visit