The Central Coast Local Health District has launched a campaign to tackle the growing problem of vaping among Central Coast teens.
Say No to Vaping aims to raise awareness of the health risks to which young people are exposed by using electronic cigarettes.
The awareness campaign coincides with World No Tobacco Day, which took place on May 31 and highlighted how e-cigarettes are not only addictive, but contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can cause some of the same serious health problems as smoking.
As part of the campaign, information and resources will be provided to local schools and community organizations that work with young people.
Teen vaping data in 2017 indicated that one in five students aged 16 to 17 had used an e-cigarette, while nearly one in 10 students aged 12 to 15 had used one.
There are fears that the number is rising and Dr Lyndon Bauer, local GP and health promotion officer in the Central Coast Local Heath District, is hoping the campaign will help debunk some of the myths surrounding vaping.
“We know from our regular interactions with high schools and community groups on the Central Coast that vaping is an emerging issue for them.
“Part of this problem stems from a number of myths around e-cigarettes that they are harmless and less addictive, this just isn’t true.
“Many electronic cigarettes produce or emit fumes containing chemicals and toxins such as formaldehyde and heavy metals that can cause severe lung damage and even cancer.
“They also contain high amounts of nicotine, the same highly addictive chemical that is found in regular cigarettes,” Bauer said.
Electronic cigarettes are battery powered and can look like everyday items like pens, highlighters, asthma pumps, lipstick, or USB sticks, as well as traditional cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
They have cartridges filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals.
This liquid is heated by the battery, producing a vapor that users inhale, hence the term vaping.
“Because of their sweet flavors, electronic cigarettes make it easy for teens to put large amounts of nicotine into their bodies without even realizing it,” Bauer said.
“It’s not good for a youngster.
“Nicotine can affect brain development in adolescents, affecting their learning, concentration and mood, causing anxiety and depression.
“Putting nicotine into your body also increases your risk for other types of addiction later in life.” Bauer said.
In New South Wales, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes or e-cigarette accessories to anyone under the age of 18, while it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine to any age.
Retailers can be prosecuted after product seizure and can be fined up to $ 1,100 per violation.
It is also illegal to use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited, such as outdoor play areas, public swimming pools, public transportation, and outdoor dining areas.
In 2020-2021, the government of New South Wales is investing $ 17.3 million in tobacco and e-cigarette control.
This includes public awareness and education campaigns, support for smoking cessation, compliance and enforcement of strict no-smoking and retail laws, and targeted programs for vulnerable groups with disabilities. high smoking rates.
Press release, May 28
Central Coast Local Health District