The findings of the Youth19 vaping survey have been published today (Friday 15 October) in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
The study surveyed secondary school students on their smoking and vaping habits, and offers a snapshot of how vaping is affecting children and young people.
"The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation (ARFNZ) has been speaking out on the rise in teen vaping since 2017," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "The Youth19 research offers yet more evidence that this is a problem.
"While vapes can be a helpful tool for smokers trying to quit when combined with behavioural support, many children and young people are picking up a vape having never smoked a cigarette. Vapes are not without harm, and can be highly addictive. Many studies are now available that show the negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development."
The Youth19 survey shows 10% of young people aged 13-18 to be regular vapers. Some 80% of those who’d ever vaped, and almost 50% of regular vapers, had never smoked a cigarette before they started vaping.
ARFNZ’s vaping education website Don’t Get Sucked In (DGSI), launched in February 2020, is becoming ever more popular as teens, parents and schools grapple with the youth vaping epidemic. The site includes information and resources on vaping and aims to discourage teens from trying vaping (or smoking) in the first place. The site challenges them to think critically about vaping and how it fits with their goals.
The DGSI website is recommended by the Thoracic Society of Australia & New Zealand and is referred to by many schools and community organisations both here in New Zealand and in Australia. ARFNZ has also been receiving an increasing number of enquiries and requests from schools and teachers for our posters, in English and other languages.
ARFNZ will be releasing the results of a national vaping survey soon. With over 19,000 respondents, it’s one of the largest surveys of its kind, and will provide data on the current prevalence and pattern of youth vaping in New Zealand.