SA Education minister Blair Boyer says addressing vaping among school children is critical. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)
The South Australian government is rolling out a new plan to reduce vaping among school students with more than $2 million in funding for preventative education campaigns
The government will update health and physical education studies to include the impact of e-cigarettes and will provide training for school staff to help students who vape break their addictions.
“It’s critical that we are proactive in addressing this issue and respond with resources and education in a preventative manner,” Education Minister Blair Boyer said.
“The best approach is to educate young people on the health impacts of vaping and where they can go for help to break the addiction so they can make informed decisions.”
The SA government has also reviewed the approach being taken by other states as part of developing a national strategy.
Its findings will be presented to Federal Education Minister Jason Clare at next month’s meeting of education ministers in Perth.
It is illegal in Australia for those under 18 to buy e-cigarettes or vaping devices and products and it is against the law for anyone to promote, market or sell e-cigarettes to children.
But a recent report by SA’s commissioner for children and young people found that two thirds of the 1000 teenagers quizzed had already tried it and 25 per cent described themselves as regular users.
Commissioner Helen Connolly said many young people believed vaping to be a normal part of having a good time with their friends.
“They said vaping is ‘cool’ and ‘popular’, including among younger year-levels and ‘kids as young as 10’,” she said in her report.
“Some young people described how vaping is more common, acceptable, and normalised than smoking cigarettes.
The report found that while most young people knew vaping had negative health impacts and was addictive, they believed there was a lack of information about the ingredients, side effects and how vaping related to smoking.
Australian Associated Press