Saturday, July 13, 2024

NT ignites anti-vaping campaign

The Northern Territory Government has launched a campaign to highlight the health risks of vaping among young people.

The ‘Do you know what you’re vaping?’ campaign includes a toolkit of materials to inform Territory teens aged 13 to 17 and empower parents, carers and teachers to provide accurate information about vaping to young people.

The campaign aims to discourage young people from vaping or smoking by providing a better understanding of the potentially harmful ingredients in vapes, as well as the associated health risks.

“NT Health and the Department of Education have worked alongside Cancer Council NT to develop this campaign to educate our young people about the harm e-cigarettes can cause,” said NT Minister for Education, Eva Lawler.

“This campaign will aim to discourage young people from vaping or smoking by providing a better understanding about the potentially harmful ingredients in e-cigarettes and the associated health risks.

“It is important that this runs in our schools.  School is a place for learning and reaching your potential – something the Territory Labor Government will continue to foster.”

Campaign resources will address myths and misconceptions about vaping and provide trusted information, delivered through a range of platforms including social media, fact sheets, posters, school newsletters and digital advertising.

Vaping poses a major threat to Australia’s success in tobacco control – people who vape are three times more likely to take up smoking compared to those who have not used e-cigarettes.

Nicotine is addictive, causing harmful effects on developing adolescent brains, with national data showing that:

  • 1 in 4 people aged 18-24 years have vaped and 4 out of 5 young people think it is easy to buy a vape from a retailer.
  • 1 in 3 people who vape go on to smoke, it is clear vapes are becoming a gateway drug for many.
  • For the first time in decades, under 25s are the only cohort in the community currently recording an increase in smoking rates.

Recent compliance monitoring in the Greater Darwin region has identified many licenced tobacco retail outlets illegally selling nicotine vaping products.

“Vaping is not safe – and it should not be marketed as a safe alternative to smoking,” said Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles.

“There is a misconception amongst our teenagers and young adults that e-cigarettes are safe, with little awareness of the health harms they cause due to their nicotine and harmful chemical content. This is why this campaign is so important.

“This is why we have partnered with the Council Cancer NT to get this messaging across.

“In the Territory we regulate vaping products the same as tobacco products.  We will continue to monitor the selling and purchasing of vaping products in the Territory and crack down on those retailers who are doing the wrong thing.”

Cancer Council NT Chief Executive Officer, Tanya Izod said young Territorians were using e-cigarettes to inhale a wide range of flavoured products for which there is no safety data.

“There are now growing concerns about the impact of these products on lung health, and there is also the risk that e-cigarettes will re-normalize smoking – particularly in younger generations,” she said.

“We know the latest trends in vaping, especially among our young population in the Territory.  That’s why we are investing in education programs, to protect our younger and more vulnerable populations from the harms of e-cigarettes.”

Further coordinated compliance activities are currently being planned between NT Health, NT Police and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, with 12 infringements issued to retailers in breach of the Tobacco Control Act 2002 to date.

This year, the Northern Territory Parliament held an inquiry into vaping, during which the Commonwealth made a number of measures to improve the regulation of vaping.

To view the campaign materials visit nt.gov.au/vaping.

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