PROFESSOR Emily Banks, an Australian epidemiologist told a Holyrood committee that “children who use e-cigarettes regularly can struggle to get through a school lesson or a family meal without vaping” ("Vape dependency is causing ‘serious harm’ to Scots youth", The Herald, November 15). She also said that “in 2015, around 2% of 15-year-olds in Scotland were vaping and by 2022 that had increased to 25%, at a time when smoking in this age group had dropped to 4%.

Alarmingly, Prof Banks also said “that children who inhaled vaping products were now being exposed to around 900 chemicals", the effects of which are largely unknown. The out-of-control vaping industry cannot be allowed to create a new generation of children with a nicotine addiction.

That vapes now contain 900 unknown substances is no surprise to me, because for decades over 7,000 chemicals and unknown substances have been added to cigarettes to encourage the widest possible range of smokers to continue in their nicotine addiction. This very same marketing strategy is now being used by the vaping industry, to the detriment of over 51,000 children and young people in Scotland alone.

The Big Tobacco-owned vaping industry masquerades as the friend of smokers, gently escorting them to a smoke-free life, whilst profiting from their dubious success in quitting smoking. That success depends on keeping smokers addicted to nicotine, which had caused them to keep them smoking in the past. This industry is hiding behind the myth that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, as they work tirelessly to addict as many children and young people as they can to nicotine.

The UK Government’s recently-launched public consultation on children and vaping has badly missed the point by concentrating on asking questions about how to reduce vaping use in children, by restricting flavours, getting rid of colourful child-friendly packaging and advertising, or having a deposit return scheme to stop the five million vapes being dumped every week. The consultation does not address the fact that the presence of the highly addictive drug nicotine in both smoking and vaping is what drives this highly profitable business.

We need to completely ban disposable single-use vaping products if we are serious about keeping children and young people from a life of nicotine addiction and getting rid of the horrendous environmental damage causedby this new child drug-use trend.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

Read more: Why do we allow the Catholic Church to get away with discrimination?

The fight against discrimination

BOTH Roy Gardiner's letter and its headline ("Why do we still allow the Catholic Church to get away with discrimination?", The Herald, November 16) are just wrong, lacking in understanding, and attempt to suggest that there is some kind of dark arts at work in our education system.

I won’t go into why the 1918 Education Act had to be introduced in the first place, other than that it was to fight discrimination in education and society against Catholics in Scotland at that time. Imagine wanting to have equal opportunities for all.

My son, a Catholic, went to a so-called non-denominational school. I wonder if you could guess who turned up to have a "wee chat" to the kids at the Friday assemblies? The Church of Scotland minister, who was a very nice person. Where were they taken to at Easter and Christmas? The local Church of Scotland.

Quite happy to have a non-denominational education system, but it does not exist in Scotland.

Paul McPherson, Lundin Links, Fife.

Keep up pressure on fireworks

IN the days following Bonfire weekend, your pages were, as were the lips of politicians, dripping with "disgust", "outrage" and a variety of other expressions of disapproval of the horrific scenes we saw over those few days. However, once the literal dust had settled you could hear crickets. This was all too familiar should anyone cast their minds back to the week that followed November 5 last year.

But we elect representatives to handle this sort of thing, citizens might reasonably say. Your readers may be interested to know that last week at Holyrood we had First Minister's Questions, General Questions, and indeed it was the turn of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to face oral questions in the Chamber, and not one parliamentarian brought up the risks and harms fireworks pose and cause. Nothing about the human cost which can be measured in arrests and hospital admissions. Nothing about the incalculable harms caused to animal life whether domestic, farmed, or wild. As a charity which exists to end animal exploitation it is the latter we focus on, but we are far from blind to the wider picture.

Angela Constance says she is open to discussion on the current arrangements. We hope she means it because action is needed; what we have is evidently not working. Readers can write to their MP and MSPs and tell them we need a ban on the public sale and use, something the Leader of City of Edinburgh Council has mooted. Or write to councillors and tell them Fireworks Control Zones are better than nothing, a power extended to local authorities by the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Act. Of course we could also keep on doing what we appear to be doing which is to say little, but if we do we dilute our right to recycle our "outrage" in about 51 weeks from now. Let's not let fireworks be yesterday's news.

Graeme Corbett, Animal Concern, Glasgow.

A deer lesson

HOW interesting to learn that a plan is afoot to teach locals deer stalking skills on NatureScot’s Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve ("Community given chance to put deer in their gun sights", The Herald, November 18).

As a former deer stalker I can only applaud this very modern, even visionary plan, but would venture also to say that in my view it will appeal to those who might in present times best be described as “New Highlanders”, since free of charge (other than the occasional criminal one) indigenous Highlanders have availed themselves of Creag Maeagaidh’s truly excellent facilities for several centuries already.

Niall McKillop, Banavie.

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Desperately seeking Larry

THE sports section of Friday's Herald (November 17) used the well-known phrase "Happy as Larry" as its headline with a photograph of the Scotland striker Shankland after he had scored a late equalising goal against Georgia.

This got me wondering, who was Larry and why was he happy?

James Martin, Bearsden.