There are growing fears that many young people in Australia believe vaping is not as bad as smoking. For this reason, the Minister of Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, and the health minister of New South Wales, Brad Hazzard, have started a campaign to combat the problem.
Their goal is to overcome misinformation about vaping and, if possible, ensure that teenagers stop vaping altogether.
The campaign has been labeled Get the Facts - Vaping Toolkit, and it will take place in New South Wales.
The NSW Government's website said that the campaign had been launched to encourage young people to give up vaping while also teaching them the truth about the habit and the dangers of using e-cigarettes.
The e-cigarettes can have many dangerous substances, often found in nail polish remover, cleaning products, weed killers, and bug sprays.
Hazzard pointed out that respiratory research had shown that e-vaping liquids contain chemicals similar to those found in antifreeze. The industry has come up with more than 500 flavors to ensure young kids are more drawn to them.
Nevertheless, there is no denying that these vaping products can cause a lot of damage to the lungs of these young people.
Already, a disease known as "popcorn lung" has been linked to e-cigarettes and vaping products, and it's all because of the harmful compounds they contain. The condition damages small airways within the lungs.
Therapeutic Goods Administration discovered that illegal amounts of chemicals were present in about 33% of the vaping devices sold in Australia.
Although vapes have no labels saying they contain nicotine, they still have very high amounts of addictive chemicals. The amounts of nicotine in vaping products are so high that people can become addicts for life after using them.
The campaign seeks to provide support to secondary school children, their parents, carers, and the schools. They would like these groups to learn how to keep young people from using vaping devices and getting addicted as a result.
The Toolkit offers educational material and evidence-based resources intended to encourage parents and young people to learn more about these products so that they can start talking about the harmful effects of using e-cigarettes.
Mitchell is worried that young people are starting to vape without considering the effects of taking up the habit.
In addition to the Toolkit, NSW Health has also made it clear that it is firmly against those selling e-cigarettes and vapes to minors illegally.
Statistics indicate that from July 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, over 100,000 e-cigarettes were seized by NWS Health. The e-cigarettes had a street value of more than $2 million.
In a similar operation in the UK, hundreds of vapes were seized, and they were also discovered to have twice the country's legal nicotine limit.
People caught offering these devices to young people in Australia can get fines of up to $11,000, while companies can get penalties of up to $55,000 for first offenses.
According to Mitchell, offering young people education about the dangers of vaping is very important because many people are selling nicotine products to young people.