- First phase of action plan to prevent school-aged children from taking up vaping
- Teaching and learning classroom resources to be rolled out to schools from today
- Anti-vaping toolkit launched for young people, parents, carers and school staff
- New digital campaign to highlight the dangers of e-cigarettes, which can contain harmful substances found in cleaning products, nail polish remover and bug spray
- Compliance activities ramped up to prevent illegal selling of vapes
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson today unveiled the first phase of the State Government's action plan to tackle vaping among teenagers and school-aged students.
Young people are being urged to know the facts and dangers of using e-cigarettes and vapes, which are often toxic and can contain harmful substances found in cleaning products, weed killer, nail polish remover and bug spray.
The strategy is aimed at educating students, families and school staff on the significant health risks and impact of these devices.
In Western Australia, it is illegal to sell e-cigarette devices and nicotine vaping products to anyone regardless of age, unless they are prescribed by a doctor for smoking cessation purposes and obtained with a prescription from a pharmacy.
The Department of Education and Department of Health have joined forces to create a WA Schools Anti-Vaping Toolkit, which will be rolled out to schools from today and fully implemented by Term 4 of this year.
The toolkit, based on a New South Wales Health model, contains resources for school staff, students, parents and carers to educate them on the health impacts of vaping.
It is targeted at secondary schools in particular, but the resources will be useful for all schools and made available to the public and non-government sectors.
For schools and their staff, the toolkit will include information on strategies to minimise vaping among students and how to explicitly identify where vaping can be further addressed in the curriculum. Professional learning opportunities for school staff have also been developed in collaboration with the Department of Health.
The Department of Health is developing a new digital campaign to highlight the dangers of vaping, which will target teenagers and young people, as the second phase of the strategy.
The Department of Health is also ramping up its compliance activities in relation to the illegal selling of vapes, including expanding surveillance. This follows a recent compliance operation at a South-West business.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"Vaping is a growing concern for Western Australian parents and school communities.
"E-cigarettes and vapes are designed to appeal to young people, coming in colourful packaging and a huge variety of flavours - from gummy bears and bubble gum, to fruits such as watermelon and peach. They are also easy to conceal.
"There are many misconceptions around vaping that need to be addressed, including that it produces harmless water vapour, is non-addictive and doesn't contain nicotine.
"It's important that schools play a part in educating students and families to dispel some of those misconceptions, and these new resources will provide additional guidance for teachers about what they can do to highlight the harmful impacts.
"As with smoking in past generations, we may not see the full impacts of vaping for another decade or more, so it is important that we act now."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"People are often under the impression the liquid in vapes is flavoured water, but the reality is in many cases people are ingesting poisonous chemicals that can cause life-threatening illnesses.
"Some of the hazardous substances found in e-cigarette liquids and the aerosol mist produced by e-cigarettes are known to cause damage to human cells and DNA, and can cause cancer.
"In Australia, it is illegal to sell, supply or possess nicotine vaping products such as e-cigarettes or e-liquids that contain nicotine, without a doctor's prescription.
"In WA, it remains illegal for tobacco or general retailers to sell e-cigarette devices, whether they contain nicotine or not."
Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900