Cancer Council is advocating for stronger regulation of nicotine vaping products, with new research showing that the overwhelming majority of Australians support government action against e-cigarettes.
More and more young people are using e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products which have been shown to cause health harms including acute lung injury, poisoning, burns, dental cavities, seizures and increased nicotine addiction.
Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris says evidence shows that young people using e-cigarettes are three times more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
“Young South Australians have been easily accessing illegal vaping products for years. In her 2022 report on vaping and young people, the South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People reported that 2 in 3 respondents had tried e-cigarettes. Of these, almost 1 in 4 were regular vapers,” Christine says.
E-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine are legal for purchase in South Australia by adults over the age of 18. Nicotine vaping products are a prescription only medicine in South Australia. It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to young people under 18 years of age and for retailers (other than pharmacies) to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids that contain nicotine.
We know that more and more Australians understand the health harms of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping products, with almost nine in ten (87%) Australians supporting government action to further restrict access to these products.
Despite young people having the highest rate of nicotine vaping product use, the data shows that they are just as likely to support stronger policy action as any other group. The data shows that 18 to 24-year-olds agree that these products are ‘highly addictive’ and 86% support stronger government action.
As part of Cancer Council’s advocacy work, we recently submitted proposed reforms to the TGA for regulation of nicotine vaping products, urging the government for immediate action to stop a new generation of Australians becoming addicted to nicotine.
In these submissions, Cancer Councils across Australia called for border controls on the importation of all vaping products, to support enforcement by South Australian agencies and stop illegal sales.
Christine said that The Generation Vape study in NSW also found that almost 50 per cent of those who purchased e-cigarette products brought them from a friend or other individual, with another 31 per cent openly purchasing them from a petrol station, tobacconist or convenience store.