General

Will Australia smoke out vaping?

Following the death of seven people in the US and 450 people hospitalised across America due to vaping, popular flavoured e-cigarettes have now been banned in New York.

E-cigarette use is a rapidly growing phenomenon in many countries including Australia.

New York’s active and fast response to this vaping crisis begs the question: how will the rising popularity of vaping in Australia be controlled?

E-cigarettes in any form pose potential risks. Photo:Catherine Massey.

According to the Cancer Council, studies increasingly show that e-cigarettes emit harmful substances.

Cancer Council WA media coordinator Jane Simpson says the organisation strongly supports a precautionary approach on e-cigarettes.

This approach is needed because there isn’t enough evidence that e-cigarettes are safe, or an effective aid for people to quit smoking”.

She says to protect adults and young people both nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes should be prohibited for sale in Australia.

“In any form e-cigarettes present potential risks.”

E-cigarette popularity is rapidly growing in Australia. Photo:Catherine Massey.

The majority of Australian vapers are current smokers in the 18 to 24 age range.

The devices are designed to deliver nicotine and other chemicals directly to users’ lungs via an aerosol vapour.

Ms Simpson says the tobacco industry has financially invested in e-cigarettes and this is a real cause for alarm.

“The tobacco industry time and time again has proven they can’t be trusted,” she says.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that allow users to inhale nicotine and other chemicals in a vapour form rather than smoke.

All e-cigarettes have three parts to them: a battery, an automiser and a fluid cartridge containing propylene, glycol, nicotine, and added flavouring.

The wide variety of fruity flavours is what hooks teens and young adults on vaping in the first place.

Twenty-one-year-old Perth vaper Alex says he started vaping in high school because he thought it was cool.

“It’s way better than smoking normal cigarettes because it doesn’t have the same harmful effects, they are pretty harmless in my opinion.”  

He says a few cases of people getting sick aren’t enough to deter him from the activity.

“People die from drinking alcohol as well but that doesn’t stop me.”

Alex says Australia doesn’t need to ban flavoured e-cigarettes like New York.

“It’s about time we did something on our own, banning vapes will just make people want them more”.

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