Beaudesert Cancer Council has issued a stern warning against vaping, saying it is as addictive as cigarettes and no safer.
As discarded vapes and packets litter Beaudesert’s gutters, garden beds and footpaths, Cancer Council Beaudesert Branch President Julie Ferguson said it was concerning to see significant use locally.
“Cancer Council did a lot of work to get people to stop smoking, because of the damage it does to your heart and your lungs,” she said.
“There’s suddenly an outbreak of people who have lung diseases and deaths associated with vaping, so it’s not better than smoking – it can be just as bad.
“Vaping is just as addictive as cigarettes, and it can also mess with kids and harm their developing brains. You hear about school toilets being used for vaping. Because the kids are addicted, they start playing up because they want to get out to vape.
“They’re promoted as a way to get rid of stress, but they don’t, because addiction to nicotine can make you stressed.”
She said seeing vapes promoted to children and teens through the use of fruity flavours and fun packaging raised concerns about a new generation of addiction.
“It’s got to be wrong on every level, hasn’t it?” she said.
“It’s like the cigarette companies, we had to work so hard against them, they had so much money, the lawsuits went forever and ever, they were so powerful, and they couldn’t care less about people – they just wanted people to buy their products.”
Cancer Council Queensland Community Engagement Coordinator (Gold Coast) Alena Smith said vaping was dangerous and encouraged parents to be vigilant.
“People are becoming addicted at such young ages, and e-cigarettes can actually cause addiction, poisoning, seizures, burns and lung injuries. It’s serious stuff,” she said.
“With access to technology and the internet now, things are a lot more accessible to kids, so it’s about going back to old school ways, checking bags, making sure they are doing the right thing and educating them it’s not the right thing to do, it’s not cool and it’s not safe.”