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Action needed to protect kids from vaping industry

22 Mar 2023
Media Release 3 min read
Feature - Girl Junior High School Students Arriving at School_0

Urgent action needed to support Victorian kids targeted by the vaping industry


Health promotion foundation VicHealth is today calling for urgent Government action on vaping, following deeply concerning claims of ambulance call outs to schools published in the Herald Sun today.

The article revealed tobacconists and vaping retailers were witnessed selling e-cigarettes to underage children in school uniforms. The report also detailed the significant harm vaping was having on Victorian school children, including serious incidents where ambulances were called to schools to treat students who had been vaping.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said today’s report highlighted the urgent need for regulation to protect young people from these harmful products.

“It is shocking and completely unacceptable that a child wearing a school uniform can walk into a shop and be sold an e-cigarette, containing toxic chemicals which don’t belong in their lungs,” Dr Demaio said.

“Our kids are paying the price for Big Tobacco’s profits. We are at a crisis point with a new generation at risk of becoming addicted to toxic products. 

“We’ve seen strong leadership from the Federal Government in initiating the TGA public consultation on nicotine vaping products and committing to update tobacco advertising laws to include e-cigarettes but we can’t stop there.

“The only way to protect young people from the harms of vaping is to stop them being available as consumer products.”

VicHealth is calling on the following actions to protect young people, including; 

  • stopping the importation of all e-cigarette products unless bound for smokers with a prescription or pharmacy wholesalers
  • banning the supply of all e-cigarette products at the national level (regardless of whether they contain nicotine), except by pharmacies to smokers with a prescription  
  • taking stronger enforcement action at the Australian border

In addition to the actions above, VicHealth is urging the Victorian Government to take strong action against retailers selling vaping products to minors and deliver increased support for young Victorians targeted by the vaping industry.

With too many Victorians unaware of the dangers of vaping until it’s too late, VicHealth wants to see a social marketing campaign to inform young people of the harms; support to encourage those addicted to quit and more resources for schools and teachers to educate their students.

Dr Demaio said VicHealth is committed to working alongside the Victorian Government in designing and implementing a response to the crisis.

"Swift action now in the face of this impending public health emergency will ensure a healthier generation of Australians.”

 Media contact: James Lindsey, PR Lead, 0400 714 187

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.