Vaping has rapidly emerged as a significant health issue requiring our immediate focus and attention.
At Beaconhills we want our students to be informed and educated about what impacts on their health to enable them to make positive choices for their future.
The decisions our young people make to protect and improve their health provide the platform for them in their adult life to be active and able to enjoy all of life’s opportunities. A key aspect of that decision-making is educating our young people with the aim of providing some form of resilience to pervading trends that present profound health risks.
Vaping is marketed to our young people as a healthier and cheaper option than smoking traditional cigarettes and vapes are available in a wide range of appealing flavours. Vaping is presented as not only a socially acceptable form of behaviour but – of greater concern – socially advantageous. Vapes have sleek designs and inaccurate perceptions, promoted through social media, that they are harmless. To make things more difficult, vaping can be very difficult for adults to detect at home or at school. So, as we can all imagine, the social appeal combined with the capacity to not get caught gives young people enough motivation and confidence to engage in this practice – now reflected in the emerging trends.
Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor created by an electronic or e-cigarette. Each device contains about 600 inhalations. In Australia it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy or own any type or e-cigarette or vaping product, but teenagers are finding ways to buy them. Unfortunately, entities are not only promoting vaping but also providing means for students to gain access to these devices.
It is important to understand the health risks associated with vaping and to discuss these risks openly within your family. As discussed in the article in Beaconhills School TV, vaping poses significant health risks to our young people. The nicotine in vaping products is highly addictive and can harm brain development. It can also cause lung damage, respiratory problems, lung irritation and other health issues, all of which will lead to long term health issues later in adult life. In addition, young people who vape are at risk of developing nicotine addiction or moving to other forms of substances.
Initially, young people vape because it looks fun, feels ‘cool’ and their friends are doing it. However, over time dependence issues can emerge so like other forms of smoking, the behaviour needs to be stopped quickly.
What you can do
We encourage you to have open and honest conversations with your children. Below are some suggested ways in which you can do this:
1. Know the facts around
2. Find a calm and casual moment to raise the topic and approach the conversation calmly
3. Avoid assumptions that your child has tried vaping
4. If they have tried it, ask respectful questions to help you understand why
5. Express your concerns are based on evidence and research
6. Remind them that their development and health is important
As a College, we are taking a balanced approach combining educational and disciplinary approaches to this issue. Students are being educated from age-appropriate health and legal perspectives. We have installed vape detectors around the College and there are serious consequence for students found vaping, in possession of vaping products or supplying vaping products to other students.
As a community it will be very important for us remain actively engaged in discussions and supervision to ensure our young people understand the health impacts of vaping and are aware of the consequences vaping at school will have on their education.
We encourage you to consider some of the resources listed below:
Beaconhills School TV – Vaping Special Report
Teen Vaping: What You Need to Know – Child Mind Institute
Other organisations that have resources for the community
1. Lung Foundation Australia 1800 654 301
2. Quitline 13 78 48
3. Poisons Information Line 13 11 26
4. Alcohol and Drug Foundation 1300 85 85 84