Regardless of the purported opinions and postures around the failing harm reduction ‘vehicle’ that is e-cigarettes, our children’s health, well-being and future should be the priority; motivating the political will to push the QUIT and PREVENTION mandates and mantras in all key Education, Legal and Social arenas.
The following excerpt from a recent ABC article is the real issue that should be the key informing element in prevention endeavours to this now emerged public health nightmare.
Professor Skerritt told a Senate Estimates committee last week, the growth in vaping is reversing what had been a very consistent trend. "While we're seeing smoking levels dropping in this country, the total nicotine use in this country is doing something it hasn't done for 50 years. And that's going up,"
Nicotine for the developing brain (let along cannabis or any other psychotropic toxin) is one of the most harmful substances in short-circuiting that vulnerable brain. The attending harms of this alone should send the same ‘anti-smoking’ policy makers into a vaping nicotine preventative legislation frenzy… But will they? If not, why won’t they?
How many people are vaping?
Hard data on the current use of vapes is hard to come by. According to the Australian National University, as of 2019, a little over one in 10 Australians aged over 14 had ever tried a vape. There are concerns about how easily accessible vapes are.
And the numbers skew strongly toward younger people — over one third of regular e-cigarette users were under 25, and half were under 30.
The Cancer Council's Generation Vape study looked particularly at teenagers aged 14-17 in New South Wales, who shouldn't legally be allowed to acquire a vape with or without nicotine.
Nearly a third had tried a vape at least once, and more than half of those had never tried a cigarette. Over half had also knowingly used a vape containing nicotine, and another quarter could not be sure.
By comparison, daily smoking rates have steadily fallen in recent decades, down to 11 per cent in 2019. People aged between 40 and 60 are the most likely to be smoking each day.
Professor Skerritt told a Senate Estimates committee last week, the growth in vaping is reversing what had been a very consistent trend. "While we're seeing smoking levels dropping in this country, the total nicotine use in this country is doing something it hasn't done for 50 years. And that's going up," he said. (Source: Australia has a vaping problem, but no easy health or political solution - ABC News)
It’s crystal clear from this data alone that vaping as a ‘harm reduction’ vehicle has not only failed in reducing smoking cessation rates, but worse, has been hijacked by the addiction for profit industry to bring an entire new cohort into nicotine (and other) harmful substance use.
This cohort is the most vulnerable to both short and long-term harms – harms to the brains ‘wiring’ that can take a long time to unravel. And whilst they are unravelling this avoidable mess, the other attending passive harms of failed potential, capacity, and productivity, take a toll on their immediate economies and inevitably the national budgets – Health and welfare systems already buckling under the weight of substance harms – both legal and illicit.
Failure to interdict the industry and sector over this intentional recruitment of the young to harm will be one of the worse kinds of ‘expensive’ for both personal and economic futures.
The tobacco industry and the willing and unwilling collaborations in the National Drug Strategy policy interpretations may feign ‘innocence’ or declare ‘incidental’ over these disturbing outcomes. Yet even the most naïve of us could but scratch the surface of that narrative to see how faux it is.
(click image to play video)
A National Drug Educators Experience.
Overwhelmingly what we are seeing in the schools right now is predominantly Nicotine based Vapes or Nicotine containing vapes that are not listed on the packaging to circumvent the Federal Govt ruling on any Vape product with Nicotine in it must have a prescription. Nicotine Poisoning (Nic Sic) is a real issue within our schools.
Vapes are being sold to children at corner shops with no identification required and no prescriptions. They believe it’s just sweet flavoured nothingness that looks cool with the tricks, shapes and veritable fruit salad of flavours available to them.
Active promotion via Social Media to our youth is promoting hiding your use behind the back of your teacher/ parent, Vaping in unauthorised areas using deceptive techniques (Stealth Vaping), myths around contents in Vapes & health benefits (especially mental health) and also encouragement to Hack the vapes themselves and create their own bespoke e-juice.
Items Youth listen to:
- Actual ingredients found in Vapes and what physical damage these cause EVALI, e-cigarette & vaping acquired lung injury being one. Thus far the reports I have seen on Australian youth lung injuries has been due to Nicotine based Vapes not THC - however Jan’s Lung Specialist that she has coming up in a DACA Webinar on Vaping may have more up to date information from behind the medical curtain than what limited information we see through media.
- Disposable Vapes have incredibly high levels of Nicotine in the
- Mental Health impacts - Vapes are being promoted to our youth to help them with their Anxiety & Depression (does this sound like Cigarettes story with health professionals) especially to young girls. So many nod their head when I ask them if they’ve heard that being spoken of amongst friends or on Social media, a few weeks ago a large percentage of Grade 5 & 6 girls told me they had heard this - Dakota Stephensons example here in Australia in Oct 2021 shows how that ends up. Complete opposite with lung damage thrown on top for good measure at 16
- Symptoms - Nicotine Poisoning & EVALI - what to look for
- Second Hand & Third Hand Vaping (especially 3rd Hand carcinogenic substances like Formaldehydes being found on clothing, bathrooms etc) when they realise they are vaping around their friends that are not vaping and understand the health impacts which to a degree are next level on Cigarettes it gets very real in the classroom. I have many coming up talking to me about this point. They genuinely don’t want to hurt their friends or little brothers & sisters.
- Who is behind Vaping products - follow the money - marketing strategies - Juul is a fantastic example - They are a commodity to BIG TOBACCO & now BIG MARIJUANA (if they are actually different the correlation is they are one and the same - ALTRIA is just one example)
- Vaping is NOT an effective cessation device for smokers - think the Cigarette companies didn’t know that? They stated Nicotine wasn’t addictive publicly! Well we know the sad truth about that More and more research is proving this everyday - Adolescents are 7 times more likely to take up smoking if they Vape
- How to quit - our young people are addicted to these products, the Nicotine and the Habit forming Hand to Mouth - rewiring of their reward systems in their brains
I understand the mentality behind prescription only Vapes - its managing the damage methods. Cities in the US are trying to ban them or in fact are banning them. The FDA has JUUL in their sights if they can bring this one down then that sends a big message, but reality it will take years before any real change probably happens here.
Vapes are Addictive no matter what’s in them. They harm people no matter what’s in them. They are a delivery device purely aimed at producing a whole new Customer base targeted predominantly at youth and they are doing a stellar job at it. Mass producing customers that will jump on board with whatever liquid product their brand affiliated company offers them, Nicotine, THC, CBD, LSD, GHB, Ketamine etc.
Tanya Cavanagh, Executive Director of Not Even Once ®
The need to act decisively and thoroughly on all and every vaping prevention model is now.
It took decades upon decades to finally out the truth on tobacco and nicotine harms. Not to act with decisive and relentless prevention, supply and other demand reduction processes and policies would not only be negligent, but arguably with what we already know – culpable.
The addiction for profit industry and those in the health sector that deliberately or inadvertently collaborate with them should be brought to account.