In response to growing calls from concerned parents and educators, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand has this week launched an educational video series, Spotlight on Vaping.
“New Zealand is experiencing an epidemic of youth vaping. The Foundation is regularly contacted by parents, teachers and principals who are really worried about the impact vaping is having on our teens,” says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding.
Recent New Zealand surveys show that teen vaping is on the increase. In the ARFNZ and the Secondary Principals’ Association of NZ (SPANZ) 2021 survey, 26% of students reported vaping in the past week, while the 2021 ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey showed daily vaping for this age group had tripled over the past two years.
“The videos were created to offer expert insights into what we currently know about vaping and its health impacts. It includes interviews with a respiratory specialist, a respiratory paediatrician, a cardiologist, a public health specialist and the parent of a teen who struggled with a vaping addiction,” says Harding.
The six-part video series is now available on the www.dontgetsuckedin.co.nz educational website created by ARFNZ to help educate rangatahi, parents and teachers on vaping. It is the latest initiative from ARFNZ to help educate teens on the harms of vaping. The Foundation has been calling for greater action from the Government to address youth vaping since 2017. After seeing an increasing need for information on vaping for young people, the Foundation launched the Don’t Get Sucked In website in 2020. Since then, the website has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times from all around the world.
Last year, ARFNZ and the Life Education Trust launched a partnership to create even more accessible resources for rangatahi on the risks of vaping. Life Education Trust Chief Executive John O’Connell welcomes the launch of the Spotlight on Vaping Series as another valuable tool for teachers and parents.
“These videos can be used as a starting point for important conversations with young people. When combined with our Behind the Scenes programme for secondary schools, and teaching from our mobile classrooms in primary schools, these resources will help dispel some of the myths about vaping, and hopefully educate our rangatahi that vaping isn’t without harm.”
Harding says to curb the youth vaping epidemic, education is just one part of the picture. “We need greater regulation from Government around the availability and promotion of vapes, reducing and capping the nicotine content in vapes, and limiting the number of retailers selling vapes.”
The videos feature interviews with Letitia Harding, parent Sharon Pihema, Dr Stuart Jones (respiratory physician), Professor Philip Pattemore (paediatric respiratory physician), Professor Scott Harding (cardiologist) and Professor Janet Hoek (Public Health Specialist and co-director of University of Otago’s ASPIRE Research Centre). A preview video can be viewed here.