4 June 2023

Combatting youth vaping a priority for the local health district

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Vape-Free Action Group hope to combat youth vaping. Photo: iStock/Master1305.

With the increase of vaping among youth across the region, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has partnered with the Vape-Free Action Group to raise awareness of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Vape-Free Action Group, along with representatives from the Cancer Council, Riverina Police District, schools, Karralika Programs, PCYC, and parents and young people, have monthly meetings to develop strategies to combat vaping by increasing awareness of the risks.

MLHD said in a statement the aim of the group was to capture real stories of young people being affected by vaping, to support workshops at high schools, to use social media to share health messages with the community and young people and for the community and sporting groups to communicate the risks of vaping.

Health promotion officer for MLHD Catherine Pratt said in a statement that the health district was dedicated to developing strategies to educate young people about the risks associated with vaping.

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“So far, we have been able to develop a workshop presentation and an interactive game for high schools and youth organisations so kids can learn more about the health risks attached to vaping,” Ms Pratt said.

“Vapes often contain nicotine even when they claim to be nicotine free and are not a safe alternative to smoking tobacco.

“They can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray,” she said.

The action group also provides education to the wider community through social media, which includes information on what to do if they suspect someone is selling vapes to minors.

Last month the Australian Government announced new vaping reforms to ban the importation of nicotine and non-nicotine vaping products in Australia.

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The government said it would work with the states and territories to stamp out the growing black market in illegal vaping, which includes: banning all single-use and disposable vapes, increasing the minimum quality standards for vapes – including by restricting flavours, colours and other ingredients, reducing the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes and requiring pharmaceutical-like packaging.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said the government would also work to close down the sale of vapes in retail settings, ending vape sales in convenience stores and other retail settings, while making it easier to get a prescription for legitimate therapeutic use.

To report the sale of any e-cigarette or tobacco products to minors and sales of illegal nicotine e-cigarettes, click here.

Further information about quitting vaping is available via the Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT). More facts about vaping can be found at NSW Health.

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