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World Health Summit Vaping Roundtable

23 Apr 2024
Media Release 5 min read
Young people who want to warn others about vaping pose for a photo with VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio

Young people and regional health leaders unite against Big Tobacco and Big Vape

  • Video transcript

    Dr Sandro Demaio:

    There is no more urgent health issue than the resurgence of big tobacco over the last few years as they push e-cigarettes to a new generation hellbent on getting young Australians and young people across our region addicted to nicotine. These products are dangerous. They're harmful, they're addictive, and they're having a huge impact on the health of young Australians, young people across the Asia and the Pacific.

    Ged Kearney:

    More importantly for me, we have some very amazing young people with us today, young people who are prepared to stand up and say, this is not what we want. This is not what we want for our young people. I'm a grandma. I have six beautiful grandchildren, and I am really very concerned about what is happening in this country and around the region and indeed around the world with respect to big tobacco pushing harmful products onto our children.

    Rest assured, vaping is not safe. We know it contains single vape, contains around 200 different toxins that are absolutely harmful, toxins that you would find in weed killer. And these products are being marketed to young children. There has been in Australia seriously worrying an increase in the uptake of nicotine in the youngest cohort from 18 to 24. It's wonderful to have the World Health Organization on board with tackling this terrible scourge.

    And it is a scourge particularly on our young people. And I really want to put a very strong plea to the Parliament of Australia. We need to pass the last tranche of this important legislation that will deal with this situation once and for all.

    Dr Saia Mau’u Piukala:

    Vaping is harmful, vaping is addictive, and there is a there is no proven ways that vaping help with the cessation of tobacco smoking. So it is important to call on communities, leaders, national leaders and global leaders that we all come together and and we the community to have a better health for our young children. Some of them may be your children, your neighbours, children, your colleagues children, taking a colourful vaping, but they don't know what they are inhaling multiple toxins, that is harmful and very addictive. And it is our plea that we should all come together and make sure that the young people of today is the future of the region.


More than 500 young people across Australia have created and shared their own warning labels for vapes, vividly depicting the true dangers lurking within these toxic products.

The warning labels have been created as part of UNCLOUD a peer-reviewed, scientifically-backed initiative, including a platform for young Australians to warn each other about vapes. Some of the confronting labels created by young people include “I would have anxiety attacks if I couldn’t find my vape” and “When I was 14, I didn’t know how deep nicotine addiction would go.”

The warnings are on display at the World Health Summit in Melbourne hosted by Monash University, where a powerful coalition of young people and regional health leaders joined together today to warn of the harms of vaping and urge Parliament to pass critical vaping reforms.

One of the young people standing up against Big Tobacco and Big Vape is Aderline, aged 24, who felt compelled to share her story to warn of the true dangers of vapes and stop other young people from getting lured in and addicted.

“I would go back and never start vaping if I could,” she said.  

11-year-old Lola said she was worried she wouldn’t be able to say no if pressured to vape at school.  

Ged Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, said young people like Aderline and Lola were the reason the Government introduced stronger regulation to Parliament to remove toxic vapes from sale.


“We know vaping is aggressively marketed at young people, and regularly sold alongside lollies in convenience stores, often down the road from schools.”


“The Parliament now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to stand with parents, teachers, schools, doctors and public health experts to pass these reforms and safeguard the health of young Australians for generations to come”.

Dr. Saia Ma'u Piukala, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific said the World Health Summit provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss the urgency of protecting young people from the harms of vaping.

“Vaping is a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of young people in our region. I commend the Australian Government for its leadership in introducing legislation to safeguard future generations from the harms of vaping.”  

To assist young Australians on the ground, VicHealth is sharing the voices and experiences of young people who have been impacted by vaping to other young people across Victoria.  

VicHealth CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio said amplifying the voices of young people ensures we can provide information and resources to those who need it most.  

"We’ll be taking the vaping warnings and content created by young people for young people to sports clubs, universities and other places young people gather to ensure young people understand the truth about vaping,” said Dr Demaio.

Young people who want to warn others about vaping by creating their own vaping warning label are encouraged to visit Warn Others – UNCLOUD

For free confidential support to quit smoking or vaping, contact Quitline on 13 78 48. You can also visit Quit to request a call back, chat online or to find updated resources to support quitting smoking and vaping. 


Media Contacts:

VicHealth media phone: 0485 938 328

Or email James Lindsey
e: [email protected] 

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.