Public health professionals are calling on local and state governments to do more about the use of unregulated vaping devices in the community.
Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said his organisation had been aware about recreational use in Australia for over two years and was concerned about the unknown long-term effects.
“This situation is a smoking gun that will enslave a percentage of young people for generations and cause lung disease into the future,” Mr Brooke said.
“We are calling on the WA government to enforce plain packaging on vaping products and limit digital and viral advertising.
“The simple reality is that the only thing that can be breathed into your lungs is fresh clean air.”
From October 1, it became illegal in Australia to purchase vaping products containing nicotine locally or from overseas without a prescription.
In a recent study published by Curtin University and partly funded by Lung Foundation Australia, it was found that 100 per cent of e-liquids tested had chemicals that have unknown effects on respiratory health.
Twenty-one per cent of e-liquids contained nicotine without stating so.
“Uginod, which is used to euthanise fish, has been found in these products which can’t be good,” Mr Brooke said.
Vapes and e-cigarettes were invented in China in 2003 to help heavy smokers come away from nicotine addiction, but it’s now known they too are toxic and potentially addictive.
Associate Professor Jonine Jancey, Director of Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health at Curtin University, said social media platforms were being used to glamourise vaping products with little regulation.
“What’s happening on social media platforms at the moment is very similar and reminiscent of what tobacco advertising looked like in the ’70s and ’80s,” she said.
“These products entered the market as smoking cessation device and now they seem to be a vaping introduction device to get people hooked.
“Younger people are particularly vulnerable due to their developing brains and nicotine has effects on cognitive function,” she said.