SCOTLAND has a proud record on the control and use of tobacco.

The success of this policy and the lives saved is in danger of being reversed due to the alarming trend of young people starting an addiction to nicotine through vaping.

Although recognised as less harmful than smoking cigarettes and a good way to move to stop smoking, the effect on young people is less understood.

Research has started to link the use of inhaling nicotine vapours in school age youngsters to lung issues, breathing difficulties and weight loss.

It also, in some, can act as a gateway to addiction to nicotine and a gateway to smoking cigarettes.

It is insidious that although it is illegal to sell vapours and the associated paraphernalia to under 18s, it is fairly easy for them to acquire them in shops, supermarkets or online.

The fact that the cheaper, disposable products are marketed in bright colours, and flavoured with enticing sweet additives, shows how they are blatantly aimed at young people to get them hooked.

Reports from schools across Scotland, and from on our own doorstep, suggest schoolchildren are vaping in increasing numbers and, alarmingly, in a recent government study, half of 13-14 year olds who have tried vaping first saw it in school.

Our teachers and parents have enough battles to fight.

We need legislation to protect our young people urgently.

What may seem like harmless fun at the moment will inevitably have more sinister outcomes for some.