Barrow Sixth Form student Christian Merritt has been appointed Deputy Member of the UK Youth Parliament

Sixthformer elected to UK Youth Parliament

A sixth form student will be campaigning to raise awareness of the potential health consequences of vaping after being appointed Deputy Member of the UK Youth Parliament.

Christian Merritt, who studies A Levels at Barrow Sixth Form College, will launch his campaign next month.

The 17-year-old said, if not tackled, vaping could become a major public health issue.

“I think vaping is an issue not talked about enough on a national scale,” he said. “There is a lot of misinformation about vaping, people think it’s healthy because the dangers aren’t as popularised.

“Very little is being done yet I’m aware of people coughing up blood and not linking it to vaping. Things like drinking and smoking are popularised but people think vaping is harmless.”

Christian will use his year in office to try to reduce the number of young people who vape across the county, starting when the new constituency of Westmorland and Furness comes into force on April 1st.

“I don’t think it will be popular initially but when people hear the realities then attitudes could change.”

He said he stood for office so he could effect change on a bigger scale than within the college community or his local area.

“I was a Youth Councillor for the County Council,” he said. “So, to be elected as Deputy Member of the UK Youth Parliament was a natural progression and a really proud moment.

“There is a lot of responsibility invested in me by the young people of Cumbria and I feel really honoured to take on the role.”

Christian, who joined sixth form from St Bernard’s School, studies politics, history and law and aspires to be an MP one day. He chose Barrow Sixth Form College as its one of the only places in the north-west that offers an A Level in Politics.

“I want to go to university to study politics and try to work in government,” he said. “This role will be valuable experience for my future career, even working with the Students’ Union as the shadow president really helps me gain more of an understanding and awareness of the realities of what is going on in our communities.”


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