Underage Vaping Is On The Rise In Australia Safety Concerns Grow


Health authorities are considering youth e-cigarette use an epidemic in the United States. We have never seen the use of any substance rise so rapidly amongst American youth as e-cigarettes have. The federal government today warned Americans not to use e-cigarettes following several mysterious deaths linked to vaping. There are more
questions now than answers. The recent outbreaks that we've seen in Colorado and other states demonstrate that these products are just simply not safe. At this time here in Illinois we do not know what is contributing to these
respiratory illnesses. We join with the Centers for Disease Control to advise people to stop vaping now. Interestingly for all of these cases there is a history of using a cannabis or marijuana type product. Many individuals had reported vaping THC, the ingredient in marijuana, or other substances. So a 2017 Australian survey that talked to 12 to 17 year-olds showed that one in 10 young people in Australia have tried an e-cigarette and of those one-third had used a cigarette in the past month. There's quite a number of ways that the vaping industry is starting to target youth. The vials are very, very colourful they're really enticing towards the adolescents and young adults. If you were to put them next to lollies or packages for popcorn you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And then there's also the new wave of marketing that we're seeing at the moment with social media but also that brand awareness, we're seeing launch parties, we're also seeing very glamourised pictures, adds as well and the flavourings themselves are heavily marketed to youth. So you get things like bubble gum flavour, popcorn flavour
apple pie flavour. Mango, mint, cucumber. Their marketing it as cool, stylish, sexy, popular. Everybody that starts vaping says it's harmless and that's wrong. In places like the US and Canada where e-cigarettes are freely available there's been a 78% surge in the use of e-cigarettes amongst young people. The story is so incredibly common, I went to high school my friend brought out this vaping pen or or a USB drive and they said hey you want to try it I tried it and it was nothing, it's like breathing air and so it's really easy and they think it's cool. Now they're hooked I don't think there's enough being done in the schools. Vaping actually came to our attention through some cyber safety work that we were doing with students because the advertisement for the vapes was popping up in their Social Feeds. So it is about us educating our young people around this social phenomena that has taken off in
the U.S. that we don't necessarily want to see here. We actually want to see our young people educated about the
dangers and make informed decisions if they choose to to eventually do it when they become adults. The issue here is people don't really know what they're inhaling so a bit of better labeling or a bit of better awareness around what's actually in these devices is probably what's required. People who switch to vaping can expect substantial
improvements in their health and we need to make these products at least as available as cigarettes not restrict
them more than a product that kills two out of three uses. E-cigarettes have a potential to fuel nicotine addiction and renormalise smoking in Australia. Australia leads the world in tobacco control. We are very concerned that it's
too easy for young people to purchase these products online and we'd really love to see stricter controls at the border. Young kids who are exposed to the behaviour of smoking and then may want to go on to try traditional cigarettes to get a bigger hit for instance, they might think, oh you know this cherry-flavoured e-liquid or e-cigarette tastes lovely I might try some cigarettes. And we're certainly seeing that in the research that we've found on young adults in Australia, but also a lot of research coming out of the U.S. that shows that kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to go on to then become actual smokers of traditional cigarettes which is very concerning.

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