"A research survey of Paris schoolchildren reported in academic journals in February of this year found two thirds of 12 to 14 year old e-cigarette users had never previously been a smoker"Now, while I doubt this very much since it flies in the face of studies in other countries around the world which found quite the opposite, a report today in respected French newspaper Le Parisien details the, err, terrifying consequences of Drakeford's factoid.
Electronic cigarettes do not drive the young into the arms of tobacco, quite the contrary. This is essentially the conclusion of the annual Paris study on tobacco consumption. "This is a real surprise," admits Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg, author of this study of more than 13,000 high school students in Paris.
The President of the French Office for the Prevention of smoking was the first to worry about the incentive effect of the e-cigarette there two years ago. According to the survey, many young people have taken to the new device: in 2014, over 90% of smokers had puffed on an e-cigarette, as well as 23% of non-smokers. In one year, experimenting with e-cigarettes which from 12 years has doubled and is at its height for 16-17 year olds: with 53% having held one in their hands. By comparison, the number of students lighting a cigarette once out of school has reduced significantly. 20% of 12-15 year olds smoked in 2011, it is now 11.2%. Same dynamic in high school, where 33.5% of students smoked in 2014, against 42.9% in 2011.as reported in the UK by ASH - and an almost halving of 12 to 15 year old smokers in a very short space of time. What's not to like? Put that with your other 'evidence', won't you Mark Drakeford?
Otherwise - to paraphrase something someone said quite recently - I'm sure our successors will look back at the debates we are holding today and shake their heads at health minister Drakeford acting in a way which threatens to prevent the same dramatic decline in smoking amongst Welsh teens.