Thirty years’ worth of world leading tobacco control had Gen Z on track to be Australia’s first smoke-free generation — then came vapes.
The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing reports that among non-smokers, the proportion of 18-24 year-olds who had ever used e-cigarettes increased from 13.6% in 2016 to 19.6% in 2019.
The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among Australian youth has introduced a whole new generation to the danger of nicotine.
Experts warn e-cigarettes have also become a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes.
Sinan Brown, a research assistant from the National Centre of Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH), says non-smokers who start vaping are three times more likely to start smoking.
The NCEPH is one of many organisations who have recently made submissions to the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s consultation on proposed changes to the regulation of nicotine vaping products in Australia.
Proposed changes include stronger border control and regulation around the importation of e-cigarettes, plain packaging, and a commitment to enforcing existing laws.
Cancer Council ACT’s CEO, Verity Hawkins, says the longer we wait to enforce and strengthen the laws that are already in place, the more we’ll see Australia flooded with these addictive and harmful products.
She is calling on all levels of government to act quickly before a new generation of Australians becomes addicted to nicotine.