New research finds Australian teens find illegal vapes easy to access

A new Australian study published today in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health shows that nearly 80% of New South Wales teens who have vaped found it ‘easy’ to access e-cigarettes from from several illegal sources and that flavor was the primary factor driving product selection.

The Generation Vape study, conducted by the Cancer Council NSW in partnership with Daffodil

Center and University of Sydney and supported by the Minderoo Foundation, is the main Australian study to ask teenagers about their experiences and perceptions of vaping.

It found that 70% of teenage e-cigarette users obtained the products for free from an individual, while 30% bought them themselves, either from a “friend” or from commercial outlets such as convenience stores. and tobacconists. Teens also reported buying vapes on social media, vape stores, and websites.

Anita Dessaix, study co-author and Cancer Council public health chair

Committee, said the findings showed that government controls aimed at protecting young people from e-cigarettes were failing.

“However teens get e-cigarettes, they’re all illegal, but it’s happening under the noses of federal and state authorities,” Ms. Dessaix said. “All Australian governments say they are committed to ensuring e-cigarettes are only available to smokers with a prescription trying to quit – yet a crisis in e-cigarette use among youth unfolds in plain sight.

“Unless all governments, federal, state and territorial, urgently crack down on the

importation and retail and wholesale of e-cigarettes and their widespread illegal use among young adults, teen vaping will move from emergency to crisis.

The study’s chief investigator, Associate Professor Becky Freeman from the University of Sydney, said the findings reflect how e-cigarettes are being made and promoted for a teenage market.

“Teen favorite vapes come in a wide range of kid-friendly flavors, like

like desserts, energy drinks and chewing gum,” Acting Professor Freeman said. “They are cheap,

disposable, easy to use and access, and contain nicotine.

She said the results show vaping is normalized for teens – despite the product

manufacturers and lobbyists claiming they are smoking cessation aids for adults. “Of the teens surveyed, 32% had vaped at least a few puffs. Of those who vaped, more than half had never smoked before,” said Assistant Professor Freeman.

NSW teenager Ruby Ellis (17) has been vaping for three years and has been trying to quit since

nine months, saying “I knew it was addictive when I started vaping, but you don’t think about it too much. You don’t fully realize what addicted means or how addictive it is until you become addicted”.

Ruby is just one of many young people in NSW now vaping and describes it as being

anywhere anytime. “All the time is everywhere you go. When someone is having a cup of coffee, or when they are studying, even in the toilet during breaks”.

Ms Dessaix noted that more needs to be done urgently to effectively enforce regulations and protect all young Australians from the harms of e-cigarettes.

“The federal government must act to stop the illegal importation of e-cigarettes across the border and state and territory governments must crack down on retailers who openly and illegally sell nicotine e-cigarettes without a valid prescription,” he said. -she adds.

“The Australian National University e-Cigarette Study, which is the most comprehensive review of evidence published anywhere in the world to date, found that e-cigarette use among non- Smokers tripled the risk of smoking compared to non-smokers who didn’t vape.

“Unless governments urgently enforce laws designed to ensure that e-cigarettes are only available to people trying to quit, we could see the unimaginable happen – smoking rates among young people in Australia is increasing.”

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