E-cigarette use among school children is a major concern. Harms from e-cigarette use include nicotine poisoning, seizures, burns, lung disease and negative impacts on cardiovascular health and lung function. Research also shows that e-cigarette use can be an on-ramp to the use of tobacco, which is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Australia. We are on our way to a public health disaster if strong action is not taken.
We welcome the dissemination of targeted resources and other education strategies for parents, schools and other professionals working with children and young people. The resources will provide much needed support and guidance to schools, some of which are witnessing first-hand the devastating impact that e-cigarettes can have on young people.
Widespread retail availability of e-cigarettes must be eliminated as we know from the tobacco smoking epidemic that they will inevitably fall into the hands of children.
It’s promising to see Western Australian authorities undertaking enforcement activities to crack down on how available e-cigarettes are and stop the illegal retail sale and storage of nicotine e-cigarette products without medical authority. Continued seizures of illegal products are important to eliminate their supply; especially disposable e-cigarettes that have high nicotine concentrations and are targeted to young people as they can be easily concealed.
We also need to see:
- The federal government act now to enforce its own rules to stop nicotine e-cigarette products from entering the country unless they have a valid prescription and/or documentation showing they are bound for a pharmacy or licensed pharmacy storage facility.
- Federal, state and territory crack down on the illegal online promotion of e-cigarette products in all jurisdictions