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Vaping warning


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SA’s Chief Public Health Officer, Nicola Spurrier, has written to parents and carers of school students as part of a campaign warning young people about the danger of e-cigarettes or vapes.

The general sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is banned in South Australia but Professor Spurrier said investigations had shown that regardless of what the packaging says, the vast majority of vapes found in Australia, including single-use vapes, contain nicotine and often in high amounts.

“Nicotine is colourless, odourless and tasteless and therefore extremely difficult to detect and police,” she wrote in the letter.

“We are also seeing increasing numbers of parents ringing the Poisons Information line after finding very young children have either inhaled or ingested nicotine from e-cigarettes.

“The nicotine in one e-cigarette is equal to 50 cigarettes and can be even higher. Nicotine is highly addictive and children with a nicotine dependency may have difficulties concentrating in class, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, frustration, anger and strong cravings to relieve symptoms with repeat nicotine exposure.”

Prof Spurrier urged parents to be supportive if they find their child is vaping because stopping can be difficult.

“They will need your help and they may even need advice from a doctor or healthcare professional,” she wrote.

“While smoking and vaping is prohibited at all school premises and activities in South Australia, it is important to remind your child that there will be no repercussions if they seek support from you or their school to stop vaping, or bring issues to the schools’ attention.”

She welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s announcement it would ban all e-cigarettes for recreational use and tighten border controls, so that soon the only way to obtain any form of e-cigarette would be from a pharmacist on a doctor’s prescription to help people stop smoking.

SA Health is working with the Department for Education to implement a Vaping Action Plan.

Strategies include information for students, teachers, and parents and carers on the harms of vaping and supports available, and improving guidance to schools on managing incidents involving vaping.

Information is available at and there is an anonymous quitline (13 78 48).


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