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New survey shows most people who vape want to quit, and Bill before Parliament must be supported to end non-therapeutic vape sales

Posted 2 May, 2024

A new survey released today by Quit and Cancer Council shows the majority of Australians who currently vape plan to stop or reduce the amount they vape in the next three months. This data supports the Federal Government’s intentions to strengthen and streamline prescription-only access to vaping products, to end sales of non-therapeutic vapes

The national survey found: 

  • Almost 3 in 4 (73%) survey respondents who vape at least once a week and more than 2 in 3 (68%) survey respondents who vape monthly said they planned to stop or reduce the amount they vape in the next three months 

  • Of those who vape daily, more than one in ten (12%) planned to quit in the next three months, and half (50%) planned to reduce the amount they vaped

  • 1 in 5 Australians (20%) aged 14 and over have tried a vape

Quit Director, Rachael Andersen noted the data suggests the new Federal reforms, when implemented and enforced, will achieve their intended outcome because most Australians who vape, want to quit. 

“We know most people who use tobacco want to quit smoking, and with today's release we now know the same is true of people who vape. But desire to quit, and ability to do so are two different things. And nicotine is incredibly addictive. Legislation that makes it illegal for shops to sell vapes is crucial. It removes these addictive, harmful products from the pathway of kids walking to school. It also ensures young Australians on a night out aren’t lured into convenience stores filled with lollies, sugary drinks and sweet-flavoured, nicotine vapes. 

“We must do everything possible to support more people to quit, sooner. Services like our Quitline are critical, and these services across the country are ready and waiting to support people who vape to stop. But it is also essential authorities crack down on retailers who continue to illegally sell these highly addictive, flavoured vapes, deliberately exploiting nicotine addiction for profit.” 

The new survey also revealed the most common concerns people have about the harms of non-prescription vaping. Among those who vape, the top concerns focused on:

  • The poisonous chemicals vaping transfers into the lungs (65%) 

  • Lung damage leading to shortness of breath and chest pain (65%)

  • Likelihood of becoming dependent on vaping products (61%) 

Lily, 22 from the Mornington Peninsula, started vaping in high school and found it easy to buy vapes from friends, on social media and in high street shops. She said it was almost considered part of growing up, something the ‘it’ groups of teenagers were doing.  

“If I’d known then what I now know, I would never have started vaping. My nicotine addiction was real, and it took me three years to break free from it. I pretended that I enjoyed vaping, that I could quit at any time. But I was lying to myself. I was heavily dependent on nicotine. Vaping was the last thing I did at night, and first thing in the morning.

“Vaping made me unwell. I got pneumonia three times, my skin broke out and I just kept getting sick. Now I’ve quit I feel so much healthier and happier. I want to tell other young people that quitting is possible, and it’s wonderful, and that help is available.”  

CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Tanya Buchanan said the Bill strikes a balance to prevent people from starting to vape, whilst best supporting people to quit vaping and smoking.  

“Federal Parliament has a rapidly closing window to act, to support this vaping legislation and the many people who want to stop vaping. If we can stop the domestic sale and manufacture of non-therapeutic vapes now, the only legal place to sell a vape will be in a pharmacy. 

“The survey also revealed that most people who regularly smoke (74%) are unlikely to vape in the next three months. Among the small proportion of people who do want to use vapes for smoking cessation, their chances of quitting for good is via a prescribed product, where they receive appropriate, personalised oversight from their health professional to do so,” Professor Buchanan added.   

“By voting in support of this legislation designed to ensure vaping is only used for its intended purpose – as smoking cessation with the guidance of a health professional – Parliament will be supporting all Australians to live healthier lives free from the harms of vaping,” Professor Buchanan concluded.

For confidential, non-judgmental support to stop vaping or smoking, reach out to our qualified Quitline counsellors by calling 13 7848, or chat to us online at quit.org.au. Aboriginal and youth Quitline counsellors are available, along with translation services and the option to request a call back at a time that works for you. 

ENDS -

INTERVIEW and VISION OPPS

  • Rachael Andersen, Quit Director 

  • Todd Harper AM, CEO Cancer Council Victoria 

  • Alecia Brooks, Chair of Tobacco Issues Committee  

  • Lily Ford, 22, case study who quit vaping  

  • Lily’s quitting story here (newly released today)  

  • A range of non-therapeutic vaping products – demonstration only 

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