Lung Foundation Australia is calling on the community to help protect young Australians from the hidden dangers of vaping by voting for the organisation to win $40,000 in nib foundation’s People’s Choice Vote to support a first-of-its-kind campaign to promote change in young people’s attitudes towards vaping.
Research shows the use of e-cigarettes among young Australians aged 18-24 is rapidly increasingi. The World Health Organisation estimates young people who use e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes later in lifeii. Research demonstrates that e-cigarettes pose known and unknown risks to human health, as they contain chemicals known to cause cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Emerging research is also proving that e-cigarettes act as a gateway to traditional cigarette smokingiii, placing a new generation at a heightened risk of lung disease and lung cancer.
Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke does not want decision makers to make the same mistakes with e-cigarettes as they did more than 100 years ago with conventional cigarettes.
“If we have learned anything from past public heath mistakes, it is that we need to take a precautionary approach to novel products, especially if those novel products are made by the tobacco industry,” Mr Brooke said.
“This is about protecting the health of the next generation. These products, which can look like iPhones and USBs, and are flavoured with chemical additives to produce fruit, candy and desert smells and taste, are targeted to appeal to young people,” Mr Brooke said.
“There is strong, credible evidence that both nicotine and flavoured vaping products are just as harmful to human health as conventional cigarettes. It is well known that diacetyl which has been found in 75% of flavoured e-cigarettes has been linked to severe respiratory diseaseiv. And emerging research suggests flavours, such as green apple, are as addictive as nicotinev.”
Mr Brooke says while the number of young adults taking up smoking remains low, the organisation is concerned about a rise in e-cigarette use among people under 25, across the world and in Australia, and the lack of awareness about the dangers of vaping products, particularly among this co-hort.
“It’s critical that we take steps today to protect our young people by better educating them about their choices and the significant risks associated with vaping. We’ve seen the overwhelming success the public health campaign had on cigarette smoking. Today, Lung Foundation Australia is well positioned to lead the way in delivering a dedicated education campaign that uncovers the hidden dangers of vaping and changes the attitudes of young people and their parents.”
In February, Lung Foundation Australia was announced as one of six Health Smart partners which each received a share of $240,000 in funding to promote healthy behaviours under nib foundation’s grant program.
Now, Lung Foundation Australia is one of three organisations in the running in the People’s Choice Vote round. Through a public voting process, the community has the chance to decide which Health Smart partner will receive an extra $40,000 to continue to help youth and young adults access the information and skills they need to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours.
“A new grant will help us to fund an awareness campaign – created with and for young people – to strengthen youth attitudes toward nicotine and tobacco and improve health literacy on the emerging issue of e-cigarette use. We need your help today to protect generations of Australians tomorrow,” Mr Brooke said.
Voting in nib foundation People’s Choice Vote is open until Monday 23 November. Vote via the button below.
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