Vaping inquiry to examine measures in schools

Tuesday, 14 March, 2023

Vaping inquiry to examine measures in schools

Steps being undertaken by schools to discourage vaping will form part of a Queensland parliamentary inquiry.

The Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee will be directed to carry out the inquiry, which will investigate the availability and prevalence of vaping devices — particularly among younger Queenslanders — as well as the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Ultimately, the inquiry will aim to allow Queenslanders to be better armed and educated with information about any potential dangers associated with vaping in order to encourage the continuing declines in smoking rates.

Recent research published by Cancer Council Australia shows more than 80% of people in Queensland want government to act on vaping to stop future generations becoming addicted to nicotine. According to the Australian National University, people who try vaping are three times more likely to take up smoking.

“Fewer people are smoking but we are seeing a significant number of people vaping,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“If vaping is a stepping stone to smoking, we need to ensure Queenslanders, especially young Queenslanders, are aware of the health risks.

“Critically, we need to have greater knowledge about what vaping devices contain — does anyone have an understanding of what they are inhaling? Do these devices contain nicotine or, worse, do they contain dangerous or toxic chemicals? What are the possible health risks and long-term consequences?

“The committee will be able to recommend the best way forward for the government to address what is an important health issue for current and future generations of Queenslanders.”

This inquiry will complement the work that health ministers across the country are undertaking. At their national meeting held recently, health ministers resolved to establish a national e-cigarette Working Group to review and advise on measures to protect young people from the harms of e-cigarettes.

Issues the parliamentary inquiry will examine include the:

  • prevalence of e-cigarette use, particularly among children and young people
  • risks of vaping harmful chemicals, including nicotine, to individuals, communities and the health system
  • approaches being taken in Queensland schools and other settings relevant to children and young people to discourage uptake and use of e-cigarettes
  • awareness of the harmful effects of e-cigarette use to an individual’s health and the effectiveness of preventative actions.

The committee is expected to report back by 31 August.

Image credit: Tikhonova

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