LONDON, ONT. -- It’s a concern for many public health officials, the rise in youth vaping, and a new study is considering whether access could play a role.

"Youth vaping is rapidly becoming a public health crisis here in Canada," says Dr. Jamie Seabrook of Brescia University College.

"Our best estimates is that about 20 per cent of youth between Grade 7 to 12 are vaping in the past 30 days, of which 40 per cent are vaping on a daily or almost daily basis."

That’s why Seabrook and his research team have launched a new study which will examine geographic accessibility to vape retailers and youth. 

"It’s important to understand the broader factors that could lead to vaping and that’s why we are interested in looking at the geography of vaping in this project," says Dr. Gina Martin from Western University. 

As part of the study, the team will map out every single vape retailer across the province, which will include vape shops, convenience stores and gas stations. 

"We want to see if these vape retailers are clustered, for example in areas of greater economic disadvantage in terms of their neighbourhoods," says Seabrook, "as well as the density and proximity to schools both elementary and secondary schools.”

Once all the data is collected the team will create a geodata base that will be accessible to other researchers. 

Martin says the data will also be used to help educate the community about the dangers and risks associated with vaping.

"We are hoping by having a better understanding of the geography of vape retailers that we will be able to better inform health promotion campaigns and also better inform regulations in terms of vape retailer locations."