Teen vaping fears


Benjamin Millar

Melton council will partner with local primary and secondary schools to tackle growing concerns about young people vaping.

Councillor Julie Shannon moved a motion at the recent council meeting highlighting the issue of teenagers taking up the harmful e-cigarette habit.

“I move that [council] officers engage with City of Melton school principals, primary and secondary, to discuss the issue of vaping in our community and the best way to address the concern,” she said.

Cr Shannon moved for council officers to prepare a report to a future meeting outlining how the council can work with schools and any other steps it could take to support addressing the issue.

The motion was seconded by Cr Goran Kesic and unanimously backed by all other councillors.

Cr Shannon told Star Weekly she is personally concerned about the vaping issue, particularly among children and youth.

“Speaking with school principals will give council a greater understanding of how this issue is affecting young people in our community,” she said.

The move follows an Australian Drug Foundation report showing vaping amongst young people in Australia is on the increase.

“Young people who vape nicotine are exposed to a toxic chemical that can harm adolescent brain development and lead to dependence,” the report found.

“There is also some evidence that vaping nicotine is associated with later tobacco use among teenagers.”

While the advertising and promotion of vaping products is illegal in Australia, companies use other strategies to target youth markets including use of social media and creating flavours that appeal to young people.

“There have been a number of studies which have found that e-cigarette flavours which give off the perception of sweetness, such as candy or fruit flavoured, may make buying and trying e-cigarettes more appealing among young people,” the report found.

Cancer Council Australia encourages parents concerned about young people vaping to calmly discuss the issue and their worries with them.

Strategies include learning the basics about vaping products and the associated harms, approaching the conversation calmly, and avoiding making accusations.

“Focus on how you care about them and want them to be healthy,” a spokesperson said.

“For example, if they are vaping nicotine you can say that you are concerned about the evidence that this can affect adolescent brain development.”