Information for parents and carers
Learn more about vapes so you can talk to your kids about the dangers of vaping.
Research suggests that vaping rates have increased in Queensland, with more young people vaping than ever before. Research done by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) shows that regular smoking habits are formed during early adulthood. People who vape are 3 times more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes, even if they’ve never smoked before.
For many young people, the bright coloured packaging and variety of flavours has created a genuine curiosity about vaping. This can lead to addiction, dependence, and a range of serious short and long term health impacts.
What are vapes?
Vapes, also known as e-cigarettes, work by heating a liquid into a vapour or aerosol that’s inhaled into the lungs. There are different types of vaping devices. These include disposable vapes which have a set number of puffs and rechargeable devices, which can be refilled with liquids.
Like tobacco, it’s illegal for children under the age of 18 to buy and use vapes. Research now suggests vaping can harm the developing brain due to their toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, heavy metals and propylene glycol. Read about the short and long term health impacts on the Queensland Government Vape Truths website.
There aren’t any quality or safety standards for vapes or their liquids, so they’re not regulated or checked and are often incorrectly labelled. This makes it almost impossible to know what’s really inside a vape and what’s being inhaled. Vapes have also been known to explode, and vape liquids can cause serious injury and poisoning if they’re ingested.
Vapes and nicotine
Many vapes labelled ‘nicotine free’ can still have high levels of nicotine, making them highly addictive. In fact, vapes can have up to 5 times more nicotine than a cigarette.
Young people are more likely to get addicted to nicotine than adults. Nicotine can impact brain development, heighten anxiety and depression, and can radically impact a young person’s memory and concentration.
Concerns about vaping
A new generation of young Queenslanders are getting addicted to vaping and nicotine. It’s our job to make sure they have the support they need to quit or understand how bad they are before trying one.
How to talk about vaping
If you’re worried your child might be vaping or you just want to start the conversation, we’ve got some tips and advice below.
Approach it in a non-judgemental way.
Perhaps ask if they’ve heard about vaping or if any of their friends vape. This might be a helpful place to start.
Social situations and peer pressure
There may be times when your child’s around people who are vaping. Talk to them about these types of situations and how they can manage them. Give them the confidence to say no if it’s offered to them. Sometimes, it’s just making sure they have an answer they’re comfortable with such as:
- ‘No thanks, I’m not interested in vaping’
- ‘I don’t want to get addicted to vaping’
- Or just ‘No’
If they haven’t heard about vaping
This might be a good time to talk to them about vaping and how harmful it is. You could also show them whats really in vapes, which is for young Queenslanders between 12 and 17.
If your child is already vaping
If your child is already vaping, talk to them about the facts and why you’re worried about their health. Let them know you’re there to support them and want to help them quit. It might be a good time to set some boundaries - let them know they can’t vape at home, and you don’t support them doing it.
Getting help with addiction
If you think your child is addicted to vaping, talk to them about the different types of support they can use.
Suggest they talk to a Quitline counsellor, their GP or their school-based nurse. Quitline offers confidential counselling, 7 days a week for people who want to quit vaping or smoking. They can also support you and other family members who are supporting someone quitting.
Your child’s GP or Quitline counsellor may suggest they try nicotine replacement therapy if they’re over 12. If they’re between 12 and 15, they’ll need a letter from their GP.
Be a positive role model!
Our children often model their behaviour on ours. Research suggests that if you’ve never smoked, your children are less likely to. If you do vape or smoke, now might be a good time to think about quitting. To learn more
Last updated: August 2023