Parents Urged to Look Our For Vapes This Summer

    In the lead up to the school holidays, NSW Health is urging parents to be aware of the dangers of vaping among young people.

    NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant encouraged parents to have early conversations with young people to help discourage vaping.

    “We are encouraging parents to be aware of the dangers vapes pose and to be on the lookout for devices which could look like USB sticks, pens or highlighters,” Dr Chant said.

    “Vapes contain dangerous ingredients which could cause irreversible damage to the health and development of young people. There is no such thing as a safe vape.”

    “We are also aware that there are links between mental health concerns and vaping among young people. If parents or young people are concerned for their mental health, they can call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 for referral to the most appropriate service. Quitline counsellors on 13 78 48 are also available to answer questions about vaping and provide advice and support for parents and young people.”

    As part of the Do You Know What You’re Vaping? awareness campaign, which NSW Health launched earlier this year, a toolkit was published for parents, school staff and others who have interactions with young people, with information and guides to have a conversation with children about the dangers of vaping.

    Health Minister Brad Hazzard said evidence shows that vaping is akin to  breathing in the same harmful chemicals found in weedkiller and nail polish remover, dressed up in hundreds of flavours and bright colours to be attractive to kids.

    “The potential harm is enormous and we need to share this information with our kids,” Mr Hazzard said.

    Between March and June 2022, the Do You Know What You’re Vaping? campaign had over 11.5 million social media impressions and enabled over 100,000 young people, parents, carers and teachers to access materials and have conversations about the harms of vaping.

    Dr Chant said: “It’s encouraging to hear parents are taking action to protect their children, and we continue to urge the community to report retailers who are selling illegal vapes via the NSW Health website. This information really helps to inform our enforcement efforts.

    “We continue to use this information to close in on retailers who break the law and sell illegal vapes and liquids containing nicotine. This quarter alone we broke records with nearly 53,000 products seized, worth over an estimated $1.6 million.

    “Earlier this year we put retailers across the state on notice, if they were selling illegal vapes, they would be caught, illegal items seized and destroyed, and they could face prosecution. We continue to make good on this commitment with NSW Health seizing more than 166,000 e-cigarette products totalling an estimated street value of over $4.6 million from February 2021 to September 2022,” Dr Chant said.

    If You Know A Business Selling Illegal Vapes – Here is What You Can Do

    Parents and the community can provide information to inform the enforcement action here.

    Quitline counsellors are available to answer questions about vaping on 13 7848 (13 QUIT). Quitline is a telephone-based service offering information and advice. Quitline counsellors can provide tips and strategies, and help people to plan their quit attempts, based on their own needs and preferences. They can also help parents and carers think of ways to approach a conversation about vaping with young people.

    The Mental Health Line can put you in contact with the most relevant mental health service. It is available to everyone in NSW and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1800 011 511.

    Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

    Some Quick Facts

    The Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 and the Passenger Transport (General) Regulation 2017 prohibit people from using electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) in smoke-free areas. They can use e-cigarettes where smoking is not banned.

    Under the NSW Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes or e-cigarette accessories to a person under 18 years of age.

    It is illegal to display, advertise or promote e-cigarettes.

    E-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine are legal in NSW. Adults can buy and use e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine.

    e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine are a prescription only medicine.

    It is illegal for retailers (other than pharmacies) to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids that contain nicotine, including online sales

    E-cigarettes are not harm-free and may expose users and bystanders to chemicals that are harmful to health. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved e-cigarettes as an aid to help smokers to quit.

    NSW Health continues to carefully monitor the evidence to ensure the regulation of e-cigarettes is balanced and proportionate to the risks and benefits that they present.

    The Australian Chief Medical Officer and all state and territory Chief Health Officers have issued a statement outlining the emerging link between e-cigarette use and severe lung disease.

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