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One in five teens owns an e-cigarette, Lib Dems pledge extra £2bn to mental health, and unwashed plums pose fertility risk

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Research showing 20% of teenagers aged 14-17 own an e-cigarette have sparked calls for a regulation crackdown over fears that teenagers could become addicted to nicotine.

More worryingly, the Telegraph reports the same survey of 16,000 secondary school pupils in the north west of England found 40% of those who had e-cigarettes had never smoked, or had tried it and didn’t like the sensation.

Professor Mark Bellis, of the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, said: ‘Of particular concern is our finding that teenage ex-smokers who accessed e-cigarettes were outnumbered by those who had never smoked but simply decided to experiment with what might be packaged to look like a safe attractive product but actually contains a highly addictive drug.’

The Liberal Democrats have pledged an additional £2bn in funding for mental health, on top of those already promised by the Coalition, should they get to office next parliament, The Guardian reports.

The pledge, part of the Lib Dem’s ‘manifesto for the mind’ will include a funding commitment for £250m over the next parliament for pregnant women and mothers dealing with depression. Including the creation of eight new mother and baby units providing inpatient care and 40 new community services to help women adjust to life with their new baby.

And finally, the Independent reports that not washing your plums properly could lead to fertility problems, as researchers warn pesticide residues on fruit and veg could have a long-term impact on reproductive health.

The small scale US study only contained 150 male participants, but found those eating the most peppers, spinach, strawberries, apples and pears – which tend to contain the highest concentrations of pesticide – had on average a 49 per cent lower sperm count than those who ate the least.

Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said the results were ‘interesting’ but should be interpreted with caution, adding: ‘The idea has been raised before, but to my knowledge this is the first paper that has investigated this question in a systematic way.’

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