Child Health Poll on e-cigarettes, vaping and teens

Australian parents are calling for tougher restrictions on e-cigarettes in an effort to reduce uptake in teens, according to new findings from The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll, made possible by your support.

The poll found the majority of parents (73 per cent) are concerned their teen might try e-cigarettes yet more than half of parents (57 per cent) have never discussed e-cigarette use or vaping with their teen.

Most parents have, however, discussed smoking regular cigarettes (71 per cent), alcohol and drinking (81 per cent) and other drug use (80 per cent), suggesting that parents are yet to see e-cigarettes as common place risky behaviour.

Poll Director, Paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, said “The health harms of e-cigarettes are real. These products contain a multitude of toxins and chemicals, and they are still new so the full extent of their potential harm is not yet known.”

“Recent cases around the world have shown that using e-cigarettes can have devastating impacts on the health of teenagers and young people. More than 60 people worldwide have now died from vaping related lung injury and thousands more have become very sick,” Dr Rhodes said.

The poll of 2029 parents caring for 3638 children also found:

  • One in three parents (31 per cent) don’t know that e-cigarettes contain toxins and chemicals and 40 per cent are unaware that e-cigarettes can cause death
  • More than half (58 per cent) of parents support the ban of flavoured e-cigarettes
  • Two thirds of parents (66 per cent) don’t realise that even e-cigarette products sold legally to adults in Australia have not been tested or approved by the Government
  • Almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) parents think it is too easy for people aged less than 18 to buy e-cigarettes online
  • A third of parents (38 per cent) don’t know that in most states and territories it is illegal to use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is illegal

“This study shows that many parents believe that if a product is legal it must be safe. E-cigarettes are not safe for teenagers and efforts should be made to educate people about the risks,” Dr Rhodes said.

Find tips for parents and the full poll report on the RCH National Child Health Poll here