Teen Vaping, Facebook Profile Trial, Online Safety Bill Delayed & More



Research from the public health charity ASH shows a rise in the number of teenagers using vapes and over half of 11-17 year olds reported being aware of e-cigarette promotion, most commonly in shops, or online.

Almost a third of 16- and 17-year-olds have tried vaping, while 7% of 11–17-year-olds vape; almost double the proportion compared with 2020.

The charity calls for stricter laws against promotions that target children and calls on platforms like TikTok and Instagram to take action right away.

“The flood of glamorous promotion of vaping on social media is completely inappropriate and social media platforms should take responsibility and turn off the tap,” said chief executive, Deborah Arnott.

It comes as Trading Standards have warned of a rise in the availability of unsafe vapes aimed at children.

Many of the vapes are replicas of well-known brands but contain illegal levels of nicotine – making them more addictive.

The Department of Health has said vapes are much less harmful than tobacco, but that children and non-smokers should be discouraged from using them.


Social media platform Facebook is allowing users to create up to five separate profiles as part of a trial of the new option.  The trial does not currently include any accounts in the UK.

The move would allow users to switch between accounts with just two taps, with the ability to have different groups of friends on the different accounts.

It’s thought the increase in profiles would make it easier for users to tailor the content they show to different audiences, so that, for example, they can post a picture that only their friends can see and none of their family members would have access to.

Ofcom’s media use and attitudes report 2022 found that six in ten children said they had more than one profile on at least one app or site such as Instagram, and this was most common in 8 – 11-year-olds despite them being under the minimum age.  The most common reason given was to have a separate profile just for their parents and family to see.


The Online Safety Bill is set to be delayed following the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister, with a number of safety provisions facing the axe depending on who is elected as Johnson’s successor.

The timetable for the passage of the Bill, led by culture secretary Nadine Dorries, looks uncertain as the parliamentary summer recess looms, while several candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader have been disparaging about the Bill’s contents.

Writing in the Times, leadership hopeful, Kemi Badenoch, said: “Rather than legislate for hurt feelings as we risk doing with the Online Safety Bill, we must strengthen our democratic culture at a time when democratic values are under assault from without and within.”

She added on Twitter: “The bill is in no fit state to become law. If I’m elected prime minister, I will ensure the bill doesn’t overreach.”

It comes as a new poll by Ipsos found 4 in 5 adults are concerned about harmful content online, while 7 in 10 want social media firms to do more to tackle the content.


The Department for Work and Pensions has warned it has become aware of a scam relating to its cost-of-living payments scheme.

The scammers send notifications instructing people to call a fake DWP number to confirm their details in order to receive the £326 payment.

DWP said people do not need to apply for the payment if they are eligible, and the payment will be automatic. The DWP does not request personal details by email or text.

It comes as Which? has warned of a new scam facing PayPal users, as customers receive a bogus notification that their account has been suspended.

The notification invites users to click on a link where they are brought to a webpage in which they’re told to enter their personal details to recover their account.

“Always be on your guard against any emails claiming that details on your account need changing or confirming if you haven’t requested this yourself – especially if you’re asked to follow a link to confirm your details,” Which said.

Gooseberry Planet will take a break from publishing its newsletters during the summer holidays.  We look forward to keeping you up to date with more online safety news in the new school year.  For details of our products please visit our website.

About The Author

Scroll to Top