The National Drug Council is calling for stronger restrictions surrounding the importation and usage of vapes and other forms of electronic cigarettes. The call comes after a study finds hundreds of teens in years 9 to 12 are gravitating towards the trend.
Between 2016 and 2018 the NDC’s annual student drug use survey reveals revealed 807 students used some sort of electronic cigarette. Several of whom were daily users.
“In the past 30 days we have approximately 350 students from year 9 to 12 who report current use of electronic cigarettes,” said Mrs Luisa McLaughlin.
Electronic cigarettes or vape machines use a coil to heat liquid nicotine into a vapour that users breath in as they would with regular cigarette smoke. The liquids come in hundreds of flavours and with ranging nicotine levels.
Ms Luisa McLaughlin says the main reason is why students begin using vapes is ‘curiosity’.
Basic modules start at a cost of around $100, making it an expensive trend for students. But Ms McLaughlin says tech-savvy students have found loopholes to this problem.
She said, “On the Customs form, there is a regulation about the importation of tobacco products. However, for electronic cigarettes there are none and they are getting these substances online.”
Ms McLaughlin says talks are underway for tougher regulations on the nicotine products which Health Services Authority Pharmacist Rosemarie Bailey say is welcomed news.
Mrs Bailey says “It is available, we can’t hide from that, but there should be some regulations and I don’t think our teens should be exposed to it.
Ms McLaughlin says the uptick in vaping as correlated to a decrease in the use of regular cigarettes.
Shesays talks are ongoing at the ministry level to see what possible restrictions can be imposed on this new nicotine-fueled market.