Schools can support students by making the law clear, the facts known, and the decision theirs. Young people must be empowered to make informed decisions, by understanding that vaping is not harmless and is not for under 18s.
GIVE THE LEGAL FACTS
Reinforce the law to students that it is illegal to sell or give a vaping product to someone under 18, and that it is prohibited to vape on school property or grounds 24/7.
Ensure the students are aware of your school’s policy, rules and procedures regarding tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
GIVE THE HEALTH FACTS
In New Zealand vaping is only recommended as a way to quit smoking, and is not for young people. Vaping is not harmless. Educate students on vaping just as you would with other programmes that focus on reducing harm from the use tobacco, alcohol or drugs.
Discuss how what we don’t know, is as important as what we do. Vaping contains unregulated chemicals and flavours whose long-term effects are unknown. Breathing in anything can have side effects. Learn the side-effects of vaping.
Discuss how vaping contains nicotine which can have some negative effects on brain development in adolescents. Nicotine is highly addictive which, although it helps to quit smoking as it replaces the nicotine with less of the toxins in cigarette smoke; it is not harmless if you don’t smoke. Learn about nicotine and vaping.
HELP THEM USE THE FACTS
Conversations that empower students to come to their own conclusions help students feel respected and in control. Research together, ask questions and listen to their answers.
Tūturu is a whole-of-school approach to student wellbeing that prepares students for a world where alcohol and other drugs exist. It is evidence-based, and uses approaches that improve wellbeing, develop critical thinking, and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs. Learn more about Tūturu at www.tuturu.org.nz.
USE REPUTABLE RESOURCES
Use the teaching and learning activities from Staying Smokefree to promote self-reliance, understanding and dealing with peer pressure and addiction. Swap out ‘tobacco’ and ‘cigarettes’ for ‘vaping’, where appropriate.
Use these teaching resources and activities for vaping education at junior and senior secondary school levels.
Support to quit
Provide support for students who are wanting to quit vaping, or vaping to quit smoking. The best idea is for the individual student to get advice from a health professional, such as a doctor or public health nurse.
VAPING AND YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY
Youth vaping is becoming increasingly prevalent, with many choosing to vape despite being an R18 product and despite having never smoked.
Latest results from the most recent 2022 ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey found that 10% of the 14 to 15 year olds reported vaping every day; with higher rates among rangatahi Māori (22%) and Māori girls (25%). Daily vaping among those who have never smoked showed a small but significant increase from 3.1% in 2021 to 4.3% in 2022.
The last Youth19 survey results showed that 38% of young people aged 13-18 years old in the Northland, Auckland and Waikato regions have tried vaping, 10% vaped at least once a month and about 6% vaped weekly or more often. This study also found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of those who tried vaping and about half (48%) of monthly vapers had never smoked cigarettes (Youth19 Vaping fact sheet (squarespace.com)). For more information check out New Zealand Youth19 survey: vaping has wider appeal than smoking in secondary school students, and most use nicotine‐containing e‐cigarettes - Ball - 2021 - Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health - Wiley Online Library.
According to the New Zealand Health Survey estimates for young people aged 15-17, for pooled data for 2020/21 and 2021/2022, 6.9% were daily vapers. Of these, 76% were never-smokers. 18% were ex-smokers and 6% were current smokers. The Ministry of Health advices that these results should be interpreted with caution due to small sample size.