Vaping & Young People
As we speak to young people, parents and teachers through the delivery of our Empower Education Alcohol & Other Drug education program, we know there is a great concern for the number of young people choosing to ‘vape.’
Here we have compiled information from the latest research into ‘vaping’ and e-cigarettes. Join us in becoming informed about the harms of ‘vaping’ and together, we can spread the word about these dangerous devices.
Vaping Vs E-Cigarettes: What is the difference?
The use of an e-cigarette is commonly known as ‘vaping’.
When most people think of vaping, they think of a vapour. This could be steam coming from a kettle or water boiling from a stove. Most people consider these safe.
E-cigarette companies have marketed the use of e-cigarettes as ‘vaping’ to disconnect any known harms of smoking from e-cigarette use. They are, in fact, referring to the same activity.
What is an E-Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid (e-liquid) into an AEROSOL that a person inhales into their lungs.
These products can vary in shape and size, but they all have standard key components and can be disposable or refillable.
- Battery | Powers the device
- Heating Element | Heats the e-liquid into an aerosol (atomizer)
- Cartridge | Stores the e-liquid
- Mouthpiece | Allows user to inhale the aerosol
E-cigarettes have been around for over 20 years, initially promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. However, there is no sufficient evidence to prove this. Flavours were added to make them more appealing to a new generation of users.
What Is In An E-Cigarette?
An e-cigarette is essentially an aerosol with chemicals.
E-cigarette aerosols are like the aerosol that comes out of any spray can, such as spray deodorants, air fresheners or bug spray. There are over 200 chemicals in vape e-liquids, which is sometimes referred to as ‘juice’.
What Are the Health Impacts?
Nicotine & Dependence
E-liquids can contain nicotine even if they are labelled “Nicotine free”. Vaping products are not regulated which means there is no way of truly knowing the full range of ingredients they contain. The nicotine in some vapes can equal 50 cigarettes.
Nicotine is harmful to a young person’s brain. The addictive nature of nicotine can negatively impact brain potential, health and mental wellbeing by affecting a person’s memory, mood and ability to learn and focus.
Nicotine affects the middle part of the brain, causing it to release dopamine—the “happy brain” chemical—tricking your brain into associating nicotine use with feeling good. This can lead to nicotine dependence, especially when a person feels like they “need” nicotine to feel normal. Young people are at greater risk of developing nicotine dependence due to already being mid-brain dominant, as the front part of the brain continues to develop.
The health impacts of 80% of chemicals inhaled through e-cigarette aerosols are still unknown.
How Safe Are The Devices
Vaping and E-cigarette devices are made overseas and imported into Australia. They are not regulated or tested to ensure they meet Australian safety standards. Vapes are not safe and can cause burns and injuries which can be severe and even fatal, due to explosions caused by faulty devices, lithium batteries or superheated e-liquids.
What are the legal considerations in South Australia?
E-cigarettes and vaping have come under the same laws and regulations as Tobacco and smoking since 2019.
It is illegal in Australia for any persons under the age of 18 to buy any e-cigarette or vaping devices and products (nicotine & non-nicotine), and it is against the law for anyone to promote, market or sell e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18.
It is also against the law to use e-cigarettes in public places that are already designated “smoke-free” areas, including in a motor vehicle if a child under the age of 16 is present.
Nicotine e-liquids need a prescription from a GP.
How to Respond?
Nicotine in e-liquids can cause poisoning. Any person who swallows or spills an e-liquid should seek immediate medical attention and call 000. A person can become very sick or even die. Many e-liquids are incorrectly labelled as ‘nicotine-free,’ so immediate help should be sought in all cases.
Know when to call 000
Seek help immediately by calling 000 if you see someone vaping and not behaving normally, such as…
- Mouth and airway irritation affecting their breathing
- Persistent coughing – struggling to breathe normally
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty with speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
Over a longer period of time, you might notice other symptoms including…
- Everyday dependence
- Harm to the developing brain
- Respiratory problems
- Lung damage
- Death due to lung damage
What support is available?
Reach out to a friend or adult for support.
Call Quitline Australia on 13 78 48 or visit their website: www.quit.org.au.
Talk to your GP Doctor or visit Health Direct.
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website: www.lifeline.org.au.
Text Lifeline on 0477 13 11 14 to chat via SMS.
Inhale the Truth Resources
Get in Touch Today
Our Empower Education program is available to present to Year 7 to 12 students, parents and teachers with specific content on this topic.
Get in touch with us today!