This World No Tobacco Day, Western Sydney high school students are being invited to create posters to highlight the effects vaping has on health, on the environment and advertising tricks used to target young people to vape.
Following the release of the ‘Do you know what you’re vaping?’ campaign from NSW Health, the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU) and the Centre for Population Health have launched the Youth Voices Unpacking Vaping poster competition.
Students are invited to submit a poster targeting high school students that address one of three topic areas: the health impacts of vapes; vapes and the effects on the environment and marketing tricks use by tobacco/vaping industries.
There are eight monetary prizes up for grabs with $200 for the first prize winner and $100, $50 and $20 gift vouchers for subsequent winners. Each participant will also receive a certificate acknowledging their participation.
In discussing World No Tobacco Day, Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Health Chief Health Officer, said that while tobacco smoking is on the decline, the growing prevalence of e-cigarette use, or vaping, by young people is of “extreme concern”.
“In 2020-2021, more than one in 10 NSW residents aged 16 to 24 years vaped. That rate has more than doubled relative to 2019-2020,” Dr Chant said.
“This is worrying trend for our young people because vapes can contain many harmful chemicals and toxins, even if they are nicotine free. We know vapes can harm your health in the short-term, but the long-term effects are largely unknown.”
Marayong resident Rose Lewis, a member of WSLHD’s Youth Advisory Committee, said we are all affected by smoking and is advocating for more awareness of the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping to young people.
“It felt like a nightmare when I learned that toxic products like nail polish remover and weed killer were the same chemicals used in vapes,” Rose said.
I was 16 when I was first offered a vape and didn’t know what it was, so I said no. Lots of young people say yes but if they knew more about what was inside, they might think again before trying vapes.”
Ngaio Chandler, youth health worker from the Western Area Adolescent Team has received multiple requests for information on vaping from local high schools due to an increase in students who vape.
“It’s concerning to hear that young people who have never smoked a cigarette have started vaping and do not know the effects it can have on their health or that it may contain nicotine,” Ngaio said.
WSLHD PERU Clinical Professor Smita Shah says it’s important that young people are engaged in conversations about how vaping affects their peers.
“This competition will give students the opportunity to create and share their own messages to inform their peers about the harms of using vapes,” Professor Shah said.
The Youth Voices Vaping poster competition will run from 31 May to 30 June 2022 and is open to all Western Sydney high school students.