Videos helping youth go vape-free for health, Country

Vaping is a massive problem in the region where Danny Allende works, and although young Indigenous people are statistically more likely to take it up, he says it's a practice that doesn't discriminate.

Mr Allende is the manager of Na Joomelah, a program aimed at tackling smoking and vaping among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Sydney and Wollongong.

"It doesn't matter who you are, there's a lot of people vaping, particularly young people," he said.

"We've had some pretty scary stories of kids as young as Year 2 being caught with vapes at schools.

"It's quite scary the amount of people we know are out there vaping but our job is to try and make that change and get our young people to see vaping in a different light."

A new series of animations, co-designed with the Lung Foundation Australia and in consultation with young First Nations people, is starting to help make that change.

After running some youth focus groups, Na Joomelah settled on highlighting not just the health impacts of vaping but two other major topics of keen interest - the environment and sport.

Since then the animations and accompanying fact sheets have been circulating in local schools, youth groups, on Na Joomelah's social media pages and at community events.

"The stories we're hearing from young people is that they are listening to the resources, they're having more of a conversation about what vaping is actually doing to their body as opposed to not caring so much about vaping and seeing it just as the cool thing to do," Mr Allende said.

"We've seen a bit of a shift in mindset about what it is doing, not only to your body but to the environment and potentially to your sporting career."

Lung Foundation Australia's policy, advocacy and prevention general manager Paige Preston said even three months after the pilot program, where young people were shown the animations, a third of participants had increased knowledge of the impacts of vaping.

"What that tells us is that this was appropriately designed and together with Na Joomelah we've been able to produce something that really does resonate with community, particularly young people," she said.

"We're really pleased to see just how impactful these resources were."

Mr Allende said the success of the videos and accompanying resources is partially due to the involvement of First Nations youth.

"If the kids and young people are involved in the process they're much more likely to take notice of that message," he said.

"We could be creating the best resource in terms of educational content but if our kids and young people aren't interested that's a waste of time and effort."

Na Joomelah, or 'no smoking', is a Tracking Indigenous Smoking program which also focuses on the health of pregnant women and the general community.