THE Scottish Government is being urged to remove vaping products from open display in stores, amid concerns that children as young as eight are becoming hooked on them.

Green MSP Gillian Mackay pressed the government for action, as she said “large scale nicotine cessation” may be needed for children and young people addicted to vaping.

She made the plea as she told public health minister Jenni Minto (below) she had “heard of children as young as eight using vapes who may need support”

Minto accepted it was a “very difficult situation we’re in”, pledging the issue of vapes would be considered in this autumn’s tobacco action plan.

The National: Jenni Minto, Minister for Public Health and Women's Health in First Minister Humza Yousaf's Scottish Government

While the Scottish Government has also committed to carry out a consultation on a possible ban on the sale of single use vapes, Mackay stressed “harm is still occurring” while this work is being carried out.

Raising the issue with ministers at a meeting of Holyrood’s Health Committee, the Scottish Green MSP said: “Many of these are products are being displayed in windows and alongside sweets, on the end of aisles, in full view of children and young people.”

Calling on the Scottish Government to “move quickly to put these products out of sight, particularly out of sight of children”, Mackay raised concerns about the “pervasiveness of these products”.

She said: “They can be reached by toddlers on ends of aisles in some shops. If that was cigarettes we would rightly be outraged.

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“It is the same addictive ingredient that is these products too, so is there consideration to putting them behind covers.”

Mackay went on to raise concerns “about the addiction children are currently suffering and the potential long term health impacts”.

She said: “We’ve never needed large scale nicotine cessation for children before, but that is potentially looming, and many of the nicotine replacement therapies we currently have are only licensed for children aged 12 and over, and we have anecdotally heard of children as young as eight using vapes who may need support.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Sandesh Gulhane said he also had a “huge concern” about the “number of kids who are vaping”.

He said youngsters used such products openly, saying: “It is not behind the bike sheds having a cigarette, but it is walking down the street, it is in schools.”

READ MORE: France to ban disposable vapes under anti-smoking plan 

Gulhane, who is a GP as well as an MSP, went on to tell the committee that youngsters would vape in school toilets and then “hide the vapes in the lights”.

Pressing the minister for action, he said: “When will we hear about things we can put into place concretely to stop under-18s from buying vapes?

“It is illegal already, but Trading Standards can’t cope so we need something to be done here.”

Minto told the committee it “is a hugely worrying situation we’re seeing”, saying there were a “number of strands of work within this area” where the Scottish Government was involved.

The minister said there was “ongoing work” following a consultation on the restrictions on advertising and promotion of vapes.

Minto added: “We’ve got the tobacco action plan which will be coming out in the autumn of this year and it absolutely is looking at vapes and where they are in shops.

“It will be covered in the tobacco action plan.”

Meanwhile, she said there were no nicotine replacement products currently licensed for children under 12, but said this was “something we are looking into”.