First of its kind Quit campaign and online hub urge Victorians to ‘See through the haze’ to ‘Get the facts on vaping
A new Quit campaign highlighting the risks of vaping is being launched today alongside new research by Cancer Council Victoria’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer. The data reveals many Victorians are still unaware of the risks associated with vaping. While 67% of Victorian adults disagree that the dangers of vaping have been exaggerated, a third are unsure or think otherwise. Also concerning is 1 in 5 (19%) Victorian adults agree or are not sure whether e-cigarettes do not contain dangerous chemicals.
This lack of community awareness about the many poisonous chemicals in e-cigarettes, coupled with dramatic increases in vaping prevalence, prompted Quit in partnership with the Department of Health and VicHealth to unveil two new initiatives – the ‘See through the haze’ campaign targeting 14-39 year olds, and an online hub called ‘Get the facts on vaping’ designed for parents and carers of young people. Both are intended to inform potential users of e-cigarette of the many chemicals they contain, prevent vaping uptake and/or support vaping cessation.
E-cigarette liquids can contain more than 200 chemicals, and some of these – such as arsenic and benzene – are known to cause cancer. E-cigarette usage has been confirmed to cause seizures, lung, facial and oral injuries, dizziness, loss of concentration, and nicotine poisoning. Exposure to nicotine can exacerbate mood disorders and has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive performance and brain structure.
Quit Director, Matthew Scanlon said the organisation had at times felt powerless to stop the wave of nicotine addiction. “However, today we’re immensely proud to unveil two brand new initiatives designed to address vaping – aimed at young people, and parents or carers of young people”.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper AM said the urgency of the issue made the campaign more relevant than ever. “We need to call vaping what it is – the resurgence of the tobacco industry. Quit’s campaign and online hub will help the community to see through the manipulative tactics of this predatory industry and ultimately prevent health harms from e-cigarette usage.”
The ‘See through the haze’ campaign includes footage of a young person vaping around friends. The person exhales a cloud of aerosol which gradually morphs to display icons representing objects which contain chemicals that are also in e-cigarettes – the same as those found in biofuel, paint thinner and bug killer.
In conjunction with the campaign, the ‘Get the facts on vaping’ online hub provides parents with guidance to start conversations with young people about e-cigarettes, advises on how to know if their child is vaping, and directs to additional resources for support.
These two new Quit initiatives follow the recent Federal announcement of planned reforms to curb use of non-prescription e-cigarette products, including stopping the import of all non-prescription e-cigarettes and imposing a ban on disposable devices.
Despite considerable success in tobacco control over more than five decades, in just three years, the prevalence of e-cigarette usage has significantly increased in Victoria. A staggering 77,200 Victorian adults who previously never smoked started vaping between 2018-19 and 2022. Of the 308,827 Victorian adults who reported vaping in 2022, more than half were aged between 18–29.
Minister for Health, the Hon Mary-Anne Thomas joined Quit, Cancer Council Victoria and VicHealth to unveil the campaign and hub, saying, “The rise of vaping is a real concern and we welcome Quit’s vital work which will help Victorians to better understand the health harms of vaping, and seeks to encourage and support people who use e-cigarettes to quit.”
Dr Sandro Demaio, CEO of VicHealth – a key partner of Quit – said the campaign would encourage young people to think about the habit they may be mindlessly partaking in.
“Vaping is both highly addictive and harmful – the toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes don’t belong in our lungs. These new initiatives will help young people and parents understand what’s hiding in e-cigarettes, and spark discussion among families and between friends about the true dangers of vaping.”
20 year old student, Dainika said vaping amongst their peers was commonplace and widely accepted.
“I’m studying to be a nurse, so I know vaping is bad for my health, but it’s also easy to access and lots of my friends are doing it. I’m concerned, and I want to quit, but it’s hard” they concluded. The multi-channel ‘See through the haze’ campaign will run from May 29 to July 7 with different creative executions designed to reach 14-39 year olds in a variety of ways. ‘Get the facts on vaping’ online hub is accessible now. New resources will be added to provide guidance to parents, carers and influential adults to talk to young people about vaping.