By Sahar Foladi
The use of e-cigarettes or vaping has gained immense popularity in recent years. Parents and concerned loved ones have expressed their concerns over its use, and it seems the Government of Australia has taken notice. The Federal Government has decided to take action against the widespread use of vapes, particularly among young adults. The crackdown on vaping in the federal budget was a confirmation of the vaping reform announced on 2 May 2021 by the Minister for Health Mark Butler.
Can The Strict Laws on Vaping Make A Difference?
The Government’s decision to take strict measures against vaping has been a positive starting point to bring the issue to the forefront, but there are still areas that need attention. According to Founder of Drug Education Australia, Sharon Thorpey, it’s one thing to put a law in place and another to follow up with a body. These laws are not being well-regulated, which leads to the lack of confidence and trust in the legislation implemented.
The Use of E-Cigarettes Among Young Victorians
The highest percentage of current e-cigarette users (54%) in Victoria belongs to young adults in the age bracket of 18 to 30, according to the Victorian Smoking and Health Survey conducted by Cancer Council Victoria’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (funded by VicHealth). Sharon Thorpey believes that a significant change is essential to regulate the issue and bring it under control.
Illegal Sale of Vapes to Under-Aged
It is already illegal to sell vapes to individuals below 18 years of age. However, stores and retailers still flout these regulations. Sharon Thorpey highlights that it is unclear whose responsibility it is to enforce these laws and prevent access to e-cigarettes.
Increasing Use of E-cigarettes Among Adolescents
According to Alcohol and Drug Foundation, approximately 14% of Australian adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 have tried e-cigarettes. Out of these, 32% of students have used them in the past month. Students reported getting the e-cigarettes from friends (63%), purchasing them (12%), and siblings (8%).
Crackdown on Vaping
The government has decided to impose a ban on single-use, flavored and colorful disposable vapes, replaced by plain packaging, and a 5% excise on tobacco for the next three years. However, more needs to be done to regulate the sale of vapes illegally.
Educating on the Risks of Vaping
Drug Education Australia (DEA), in collaboration with Monash Health, City of Greater Dandenong, and the City of Casey, has organized a webinar to educate parents on the risks of vaping and how to discuss its potential risks with their children. DEA Founder Sharon Thorpey believes students need to be educated about the potential risks of vaping and encouraged to celebrate the majority of students who choose not to vape.
The free online webinar is scheduled on Tuesday 6 June. Register for the event here: https://monashhealth.org/services/health-promotion/#events