A Parliamentary Inquiry will investigate the availability and prevalence of vaping devices – particularly among younger Queenslanders – and the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Ultimately, the Inquiry will aim to allow Queenslanders to be better armed and educated with information about any potential dangers associated with vaping so we can see continued declines in smoking rates.

The Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee will be directed to carry out the Inquiry which will also look at current measures being undertaken in schools to discourage vapers, which are steadily growing in popularity– and worryingly among younger Queenslanders.

Recent research published by Cancer Council Australia shows more than 80 per cent of people in Queensland want government to act on vaping to stop future generations becoming addicted to nicotine, most adults perceive e-cigarettes to be highly addictive and 87 per cent of people believe vaping should not be allowed on public transport, in pubs and restaurants or other indoor venues.

Research from the office of Queensland’s Chief Health Officer shows the prevalence of daily smoking in Queensland continues to fall and as of 2020 had declined by 47 per cent since 2002.

“Fewer people are smoking but we are seeing a significant number of people vaping,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“If vaping is a steppingstone to smoking, we need to ensure Queenslanders, especially young Queenslanders, are aware of the health risks.

“Critically, we need to have greater knowledge about what vaping devices contain – does anyone have an understanding of what they are inhaling? Do these devices contain nicotine or, worse, do they contain dangerous or toxic chemicals? What are the possible health risks and long-term consequences?

“And that information is vital to ensuring we are able to better educate Queenslanders.

“The committee will be able to recommend the best way forward for the government to address what is an important health issue for current and future generations of Queenslanders.”

But according to Australian National University, people who try vaping are three times more likely to take up smoking.

This Inquiry will complement the work that Health Ministers across the country are undertaking.  At their national meeting held last month, Health Ministers resolved to establish a national e-cigarette Working Group to review and advise on measures to protect young people from the harms of e-cigarettes.

Issues the Parliamentary Inquiry will examine include:

  • The prevalence of e-cigarette use, particularly amongst children and young people
  • The risks of vaping harmful chemicals, including nicotine, to individuals, communities, and the health system
  • The approaches being taken in Queensland schools and other settings relevant to children and young people to discourage uptake and use of e-cigarettes
  • The awareness of the harmful effects of e-cigarette use to an individual’s health and the effectiveness of preventative actions.

The committee is expected to report back by August 31.

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