Schoolchildren have admitted to being so hopelessly addicted to their vapes that they do it in class when their teacher’s back is turned.
The claims have come in a shocking expose of the nationwide vaping epidemic among Australia’s youth, which has even spread to kindergartern kids.
Three schoolgirls, who did not reveal their names or the school they attend, told 7News Spotlight’s they ‘can’t go without’ their vapes and puff away in class ‘all the time’.
‘Pretty much all my friends do it and they are all heavily addicted,’ one said.
Another added: ‘If I don’t have it I go through withdrawals. I get very anxious, I get the shakes, headaches.’
They spoke of class mates who would desperately take a drag of a friend’s vape on a Monday morning because their parents would not let them vape at home.
‘I know there’s harmful chemicals in it but it’s not going to speak from smoking it,’ one said.
It comes as a top principal claimed the ‘insidious problem’ of vaping was so bad that children in kindergarten have been caught puffing.
Christine Del Gallo, deputy president NSW Principals Council, said: ‘There instances where young primary school students are vaping, even down to kindergarten so that’s a great concern.’
She added: ‘Using nicotine products but thinking they are just sucking on some little fruity, pleasant little steamy thing.’
The three schoolgirls (pictured) admitted to being hopelessly addicted to their vapes
A top principal claimed kindergarten-age children had been caught vaping
Ms Del Gallo explained how easy it was for schoolchildren to get away with vaping.
‘They are small, they fit in your hand – they easily fit in your pencil case so it’s easy to just pull them out, hold them in your hand – put your hand cupped over your mouth and vape,’ she said.
‘In an afternoon a student could smoke their vape and have 50-705 times the nicotine that they would get from a cigarette.’
The show performed a mystery shopping exercise in every capital city across Australia where underage children were able to easily buy vapes in newsagents or online.
They send 43 samples to the University of Wollongong for testing, only one of which was labelled as containing nicotine.
But scientists found high concentrations of the addictive substance in a shocking 72 per cent of the samples provided and they confirmed that all of the vapes had come from China.
Currently, the only way to buy vapes legally is through a prescription from your doctor.
Federal health minister Mark Butler said the prevalence of illegal vapes was the ‘biggest loophole in Australian health care history’
But convenience stores across the country are making a fortune selling unregulated vapes filled with nicotine that are not labelled that they have the highly addictive liquid in them.
Importers often do not disclose their nicotine content to get them past inspectors – with an estimated 90 million vapes being imported illegally into Australia in the past year.
Mark Butler, federal health minister, said it was the ‘biggest loophole in Australian health care history’.
He pledged to tackle the problem by shutting the border, banning bright colours and flavourings, while restricting their sale to pharmacies.
Mr Butler admitted the government had been ‘asleep at the wheel’.
‘It has shocked many Australians how quickly this has got away from people,’ he told the program.
‘Kids under 12, even under ten, are doing this and accidentally very young children are getting their hands on these things with terrible consequences.’ The Victorian poisons hotline reports that in the last 12 months they’ve had 50 cases of children under four being poisoned with these things.’
He added: ‘What was presented as a pathway out of smoking has become a pathway into smoking for the youngest Australians.’
Respiratory specialist Professor Matthew Peters sounded a grim warning about the health dangers of vapes.
‘We don’t need to wait for bodies to pile up to know vaping is dangerous,’ he told the show.
What is an e-cigarette and how is it different to smoking tobacco?
An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a device that allows users to inhale nicotine by heating a vapour from a solution that contain nicotine, propylene and flavourings.
As there is no burning involved, there is no smoke like a traditional cigarette.
But while they have been branded as carrying a lower risk than cigarettes, an increasing swell of studies is showing health dangers.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, but the vapor does contain some harmful chemicals.
Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical which makes it difficult for smokers to quit.
Nearly three million people in Britain use e-cigarettes, and more than nine million Americans.
1. Standard e-cigarette
Battery-powered device containing nicotine e-liquid.
It vaporizes flavored nicotine liquid.
Very similar to normal e-cigarettes but with sleeker design and, in the US, a higher concentration of nicotine. In the UK and EU limited to 20 mg/ml.
Thanks to its ‘nicotine salts’, manufacturers claim one pod delivers the amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
It is composed of an e-cigarette (battery and temperature control), and a pod of e-liquid which is inserted at the end.
The liquid contains nicotine, chemicals and flavorings.
Like other vaping devices, it vaporizes the e-liquid.
3. IQOS by Philip Morris
Pen-shaped, charged like an iPod.
It is known as a ‘heat not burn’ smokeless device, heating tobacco but not burning it (at 350C compared to 600C as normal cigarettes do).
The company claims this method lowers users’ exposure to carcinogen from burning tobacco.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk