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New report published sharing WA young people's views on vaping

WA young people share their views on vaping in a new report released today by the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

E-cigarette use among Western Australian young people has become increasingly problematic over recent years.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a rise in e-cigarette use in Western Australia – including among under-18s. This has been particularly concerning for parents, teachers and schools, and young people, who are all struggling to cope with the addictive nature and problematic behaviour associated with ‘vaping’,” the Commissioner, Jacqueline McGowan-Jones said.

To help address some of these challenges, the Commissioner undertook the ‘Talking about vaping’ survey in early 2023. Over 3,000 Western Australian young people aged 12 to 18 years shared their views and experiences about ‘vapes’ and ‘vaping’ making this survey the largest qualitative research project conducted with Western Australian young people on the topic of e-cigarettes.

“I am pleased to release the ‘Talking about vaping’ report, which presents the key survey findings. I am grateful to all of the young people who took part, and hope their views and ideas help shape policy and other supports needed to combat these harmful products,” the Commissioner said.

Seventy per cent of participants said it is easy for a young person to “get a vape”, and many reported that these products are prolific, especially in schools.

Almost one-in-five (19.1%) participants said the most common way to access ‘vapes’ is via friends; followed by dealers or suppliers (11.7%); and online (7.8%).

Almost one-third (29.2%) of participants said the pleasant taste or flavours of e-cigarettes makes these products appealing to young people, while one-quarter (25.7%) said it is the perception that ‘vapes’/’vaping’ is “cool”.  One-fifth (19.3%) of participants said that peer pressure and a desire to ‘fit in’ make ‘vaping’ appealing to people their age, and many said they wish adults gave them more strategies to overcome the immense social pressure to ‘vape’.

The health harms of e-cigarettes was by far the most concerning aspect of ‘vapes’/’vaping’ with two-thirds (65.5%) of respondents saying they wish their peers knew how bad ‘vaping’ “really is”.

A copy of the Commissioner’s Talking about vaping: WA young people's views and experiences of e-cigarettes report is available from WA vaping survey for young people (