SA calls for national action on vaping

·2-min read

South Australia has called for a national approach to tackle the growing use of vapes and e-cigarettes among young people.

Education Minister Blair Boyer will raise the issue with his federal counterpart Jason Clare in Canberra on Wednesday.

"This is a serious issue that needs national attention and South Australia will be leading the charge in getting this on the national agenda," Mr Boyer said.

"We're keen to be proactive and forward-thinking as a state government and work collaboratively with the commonwealth to ensure the health and wellbeing of our young people."

SA's action follows a recent report from the state's Commissioner for Children and Young People who surveyed about 1000 teenagers aged 13 to 19 about vaping.

The report said two out of three respondents said they had tried vaping, and of those 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.

"They reported that vapes are easier for young people to buy, don't leave the same smell as cigarettes and are seen as not as bad due to being able to vape without nicotine."

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.

Mr Boyer said the commissioner's report highlighted a lack of information about the serious side effects and the addictive nature of vaping and e-cigarettes.

"Which is why we need to educate our young people on the health risks, but also the legal implications," he said.

Health Minister Chris Picton said it was clear vaping was becoming increasingly prevalent in Australia and many schools were dealing with the concerning practice on a daily basis.

"We want to do what we can at a state level to protect our children and reduce the harms caused by e-cigarettes," he said.

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