Knowing the hidden dangers of e-cigarettes: campaign to stop young people vaping

man wearing black crew neck blowing smoke
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Young people are urged to quit vaping and know the facts and dangers of e-cigarettes, which can contain harmful substances found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell have launched Get the Facts – Vaping Toolkit and NSW Health awareness campaign.

The campaign, which is aimed at secondary students, reminds parents, carers, young people and teachers vaping is not safe and can have harmful, long-term effects to the physical and brain development of young people.

Minister Hazzard said that research has proven that e-cigarettes are just as addictive and harmful as regular cigarettes.

A respiratory researcher once told me that e-vaping liquids have chemicals that are similar to antifreeze, with 500 different flavours to attract kids,” Mr Hazzard said.

“It makes it pretty obvious as to the harm it can cause to youngsters’ lungs.”

Many vapes contain nicotine, some at extremely high concentrations, even if they are not labelled as such, and evidence suggests they can lead to a lifelong nicotine addiction.

NSW Health has worked with the NSW Department of Education to develop the Vaping Toolkit, which contains evidence-based resources and educational materials for parents, carers, young people and schools, to combat the rising number of children and young people who are trying or taking up vaping.

Minister Mitchell urged parents to discuss the dangers of e-cigarettes with their children and to report any usage in schools to principals.

“The number of young people vaping without consideration to the effects is concerning. I encourage all parents and young people to find out more and talk about the hidden, dangerous impacts of e-cigarettes,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Educating our young people about the dangers of vaping is essential when there continues to be a large number of reckless individuals selling nicotine products to minors.”

The Vaping Toolkit and campaign is designed to increase young people’s awareness of the dangers of vaping and support parents, carers, families, schools and educators, health and community bodies with information and strategies to educate and protect young people from the harms of e-cigarettes.

The campaign will target secondary students to raise awareness of the hidden chemicals in vapes, and provide a resource for teachers, parents and carers to kick start conversations.

It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes or vapes to anyone under the age of 18. There are severe penalties for business or others who provide them to minors, including fines of up to $11,000 for individuals, and up to $55,000 for corporations, for first offences.

NSW Health continues to take action against retailers who sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine.

NSW Health seized over 100,000 e-cigarettes worth an estimated street value of over $2 million from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021.

Parents and young people can get the facts about the dangers of vaping by visiting www.health.nsw.gov.au/vaping