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Child vaping risks becoming ‘public health catastrophe’ in UK, experts warn

By Shanti Das and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

Lindsey Smith’s son was 14 when he bought his first vape. Engrossed in videos of YouTubers making “ghost puffs” with the vapour, he decided he wanted to try it for himself.

At first he would spend hours trying to copy the strangers online – sitting in his bedroom and practicing exhalation techniques to create the ghost-shaped clouds he was seeing on his screen.

While he started out using watermelon-flavoured vapes with 2% nicotine, purchased from an older boy at school with his £5-a-week pocket money, his friends had obtained illegal devices with up to 12.5% nicotine – more than six times above the legal limit…

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