Lung Foundation Australia
The use of vaping and e-cigarettes amongst Australians is on a rapid rise, particularly amongst young adults, with 49.1% of 18-24 year-old smokers and 13.6% of non-smokers reporting having used e-cigarettes (2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey). Recent research from the University of Newcastle also suggests that more than a quarter of women who vape were never cigarette smokers.
Vapes are designed to appeal to and be used by young people, supplied in a range of different flavours, such as mint, mango and chocolate and are often perceived as harmless or a “healthier alternative” to the traditional cigarette.
It is a common misconception amongst young people that vaping contains ‘harmless water vapour’ however studies show they can contain harmful chemicals, including:nicotine, ultrafine particles, benzene (which is found in car exhaust) and other dangerous chemicals that are linked to serious lung, heart and brain diseases.
While cautionary guidance on the use of vaping and e-cigarettes has been issued by Australia’s leading health bodies, such as Lung Foundation Australia and Cancer Council Australia, there is currently a lack of general consensus within Australia on the long-term health implications associated with vaping.
The project aims to support an important public health conversation by holding a national roundtable that will develop a Consensus Statement on the emerging national health issue of the increasing number of young people turning to vaping.
The project will bring together leading experts and stakeholders to provide a well-researched Consensus Statement based on the health risks of vaping that will act as a national health policy reference and provide insight for future campaigns focusing on building understanding of the health effects of vaping and associated risks for young people.