Make this the year to go smoke free

This World No Tobacco Day, NSW Health is encouraging people to quit smoking and vaping to improve their overall health and quality of life.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant congratulated those who have made the effort to stop smoking tobacco and cigarettes but was alarmed about the increasing number of people vaping.

Dr Chant said an alarming 16.5 per cent of young people aged 16-24 in NSW are current vape users, up from 4.5 per cent just two years ago.

“Smoking is a leading cause of disease and premature death in NSW, and while we’ve seen positive change with a decrease in daily tobacco smoking over the last 20 years, this decrease in smoking is starting to plateau,” Dr Chant said. 

We are really concerned about the high number of young people using vapes, and don’t want to see the years of strong progress reducing tobacco smoking undone.”

Dr Chant said the negative health impacts of vaping on young people cannot be understated.

“Most vapes contain nicotine even when it is not on the label, and young people need to know nicotine is highly addictive. Regular nicotine use can lead to changes to memory and mood – and can also increase stress and anxiety.

“There is also strong evidence that non-smokers who use vapes are three times as likely to go on to smoke tobacco than non-smokers who do not use vapes.

“Importantly, the long-term harms of vaping are still not known,” Dr Chant said.

NSW Health has been undertaking a comprehensive program of work to address vape use by young people and welcomes the vaping product reforms recently announced by the Commonwealth Government to protect the community from the health harms associated with vaping.

As part of the Do You Know What You’re Vaping? awareness campaign, which NSW Health launched last year, a toolkit was published for parents, school staff and others who have interactions with young people, with information and guides to have a conversation with young people about the dangers of vaping.

If you need support to quit smoking or vaping, Quitline counsellors are available to answer questions about vaping on 13 7848 (13 QUIT). Quitline counsellors can provide tips and strategies, and help people to plan to quit, based on their own needs and preferences.

They can also help parents and carers think of ways to approach a conversation about vaping with young people.

The Aboriginal Quitline is also available on 13 7848. Run by Aboriginal counsellors, the Aboriginal Quitline is a telephone-based confidential advice and support service.

If you require assistance in a language other than English, Quitline has counsellors who speak Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese. You can ask to speak to one of these counsellors. For people who prefer to speak in a different language, Quitline uses the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS).

The latest data on smoking and vaping in NSW can be found on HealthStats NSW.