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Substance misuse

Young people at Links Media College showcase anti-vaping campaign as Government announces ban on disposable vapes

A group of young people at Catch22 staff stand together with Lyn Brown MP in front of a screen on which one of their Vaping Media Projects is presented. They are all smiling at the camera.

On Friday, a group of students from Links Media College at Community Links showcased the ‘Vaping Media Projects’, that they’ve been working on for the past eight weeks with Change Grow Live and Newham Council, as part of a campaign to tackle misinformation on youth vaping.

The launch of this campaign couldn’t be more timely in light of today’s announcement that the Government will ban the sale of disposable vapes, amongst other measures, to tackle youth vaping. We asked the young people at our College what they thought about the news:

“I think that it’s a good idea. However, instead of banning certain flavours, you should ban them as a whole, because most children and adults start vaping because they like the flavour even though they’ve never smoked beforehand, plus some adults will buy vapes for those underage anyway so i say ban all vapes.”

– Links Media College student, January 2024


“If it fully stops children from vaping, then I think it’s good because it will reduce health issues and it will overall make the up-and-coming generation better: more healthy and more disciplined.”

– Links Media College student, January 2024

Newham Council brought together Catch22 and Change Grow Live as part of their work around youth vaping across the borough. The young people presented their work to peers and staff from Catch22, CGL and Newham Council. They shared podcasts, posters, original music and spoken word, to communicate their thoughts, feelings and experiences of vaping, as well as key medical information about the risks of vaping. Many highlighted the risks to their mental health and fears of developing other harmful habits.

We were delighted to host the MP for West Ham, Lyn Brown, at the event. Lyn came to ask the young people about their views on the upcoming bill to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1st January 2009, and to ask what the government should do to tackle youth vaping. Lyn has invited our young people to share their thoughts with her for upcoming debates and has kindly invited them to Parliament to see relevant legislation debated. We are pleased that, via this project, young people will be directly involved in shaping local campaigns and national policy in Westminster.

We are grateful to our partners at CGL and Newham Council for giving the young people at our college the opportunity.  Newham Council will be sharing the youth vaping media pieces with schools and on their social media channels as part of Children’s Mental Health week taking place on Monday 5th – Sunday 11th February 2024.

Sumaiyah Rahman, Assistant Public Health Strategist, at London Borough of Newham said:

“The youth vaping media project was a fantastic opportunity to hear from the voices of young people, particularly as youth vaping is becoming a growing concern in the borough. This project will help to raise awareness around the dangers of youth vaping and influence meaningful change longer-term.”

Elizabeth Booker, Interim Director of Communities at Catch22 said:

“The young people at Links Media College highlighted the issues that they felt made vapes especially attractive to young people, pointing to the child-friendly colours and flavours as significant pull factors. It is paramount that the voices of young people are amplified in these debates. I am proud of the confidence our young people showed to speak to those in power and immensely grateful to Lyn Brown MP for listening to those voices. We will continue to work on this issue locally with all our partners and provide the space for our young people’s voices to be amplified into the national debate.” 

At Catch22 we have been calling on the Government to take immediate measures to tackle youth vaping in our manifesto. We believe urgent action is needed now to prevent young people from developing harmful habits that can lead to risk-taking behaviour. As such, we welcome the government’s announcement today.