NSW education authorities are taking action against vaping in schools to tackle the growing and ‘unacceptable’ problem.
The state’s education minister said during a budget hearing on Wednesday that the government was working on a series of actions to tackle e-cigarette use among young people.
Under a new behavior strategy to be implemented next year, students in kindergarten through second grade could be suspended for up to five days for misbehavior, and older students up to 10 days,” Minister Sarah Mitchell said.
“It is a concern. I mean, we’re clearly seeing more youth vaping; e-cigarettes in schools are a growing concern,” she said.
“Schools are smoke-free environments and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes, are prohibited on school grounds.”
Ms Mitchell said the Department for Education had started discussing the issue with NSW Health to find a ‘whole of government approach’ to addressing the issue.
Future actions will include a campaign to educate parents on how to talk to their children about vaping.
“I think there needs to be a whole-of-government approach – and indeed, a whole community approach – to how we educate our kids about the dangers of vaping, but also the potential legal impacts.”
Department for Education documents made public in Parliament earlier this year cite an alleged 771% increase in reports to a hotline of incidents of students vaping or selling e-cigarette accessories.
It is illegal to sell tobacco products to people under the age of 18 in New South Wales.