Posted 13 Jul, 2021
Quit Victoria has launched a suite of e-cigarette resources, designed to support Victorian parents and teachers to understand the risks of e-cigarette use and empower them to address vaping with their kids and students.
The new resources were developed by Quit and partners, including the Royal Children’s Hospital, with funding from the Department of Health. The resources were rigorously focus tested with parents and teenagers.
The resources highlight the health risks of e-cigarettes, expose the predatory marketing tactics employed by e-cigarette companies to make nicotine-containing products appealing to kids, and to debunk some of the myths used by companies and retailers to make the products seem less harmful.
Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White said Victorian parents are sick of being ‘in the dark’ when it comes to the health risks of vaping.
“We have an increasing number of queries from parents and teachers about vape products, their impacts on teen health and what these products actually contain. Most people don’t know that there are no quality or safety standards for e-cigarettes or e-liquids, which means their manufacture, contents and labelling are unregulated,” she said.
E-cigarettes can contain nicotine, propylene glycol or glycerine, and flavourings. Other substances found in e-cigarettes include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, which are known to cause cancer, while some of the chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols can cause DNA damage.
Dr White said the most surprising thing from the research with both teens and parents is that most people don’t realise that it is illegal for a retailer to sell any e-cigarette device or liquid, whether it contains nicotine or not, to a person under 18 years. “A lot of parents are pretty horrified when they discover there are plenty of retailers who are not just acting immorally by selling these products to their kids but knowingly flouting the law.”
Last month, a Herald Sun investigation found children as young as 12 were being sold black market vaping products across various suburbs in Melbourne, with no consequences.
“It’s appalling that these products are so brazenly being sold to kids and retailers feel they can ignore the law with impunity,” Dr White said. “It’s time the government took action against dodgy retailers who are choosing to put their own profits over the health of Victorian kids.”
“Manufacturers and retailers of tobacco products and e-cigarettes don’t care about your kids’ health. They’re just desperate to get a new generation of kids hooked on nicotine, which is why they promote flavours like peach, popcorn, crème caramel and bubble gum to kids - just to stay in business,” she said.
The e-cigarette resources will be distributed by the Victorian Department of Education and the Victorian Department of Health from 19 July.
The resources will also be available at quit.org.au/teenvaping.