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(L-R) Kate Ross Senior Research Program Officer, Professor Cath Chapman, Ken Wallace CEO OurFutures Institute, The Honourable Federal Education Minister Jason Clare, The Honourable Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, Professor Maree Teesson AC (Director of The Matilda Centre and Co-Founder of OurFutures), Associate Professor Emily Stockings, and Conor Hinds (Program Youth Advisory Board Member)

The OurFutures Vaping program was showcased at a media event last week involving federal Health Minister Mark Butler and federal Education Minister Jason Clare.

Associate Professor Emily Stockings from The University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre spoke alongside the ministers, explaining how, “Programs like OurFutures are not only backed by rigorously tested evidence, but are developed in partnership with young people, parents, teachers, and educators, and give young people a say in their own health decisions.”

OurFutures’ CEO Ken Wallace (third left above) had the opportunity to meet with the Federal Health and Education ministers to discuss the vaping prevention program and its potential to combat vaping harms in Australian youth. As Education Minister Jason Clare pointed out, “It’s […] why resources like the OurFutures vaping program are important – equipping teachers with the tools they need to help to educate young people about the dangers of vaping.”

(L-R) Professor Maree Teesson AC (Director of The Matilda Centre and Co-Founder of OurFutures), Associate Professor Emily Stockings, Health Minister Mark Butler, and Education Minister Jason Clare.

The OurFutures Vaping program (targeting Year 7 and 8 students) is the first rigorously evaluated online vaping prevention program currently under evaluation. Over 8 in 10 students and teachers have rated the program highly, with over 8 in 10 students saying it would help them in future.

 

Alarmingly, the research shows that 1 in 6 high school students have vaped recently, with 9 out of 10 vape retailers being situated within walking distance of schools [1, 2]. As Mark Butler said on Wednesday: “Vapes were sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic good: a product that could help hardened smokers – usually people in their 40s or 50s – to quit smoking and kick the habit, not one targeted at children but that is what has happened […] If vapes are therapeutic goods then it is entirely appropriate that Australia should regulate them as therapeutic goods, instead of allowing them to be sold alongside candy bars in convenience stores, often down the road from schools.”

 

 

Find the media release here.

[1] Department of Health and Aged Care. (2024, February). Australian secondary school students alcohol and drug survey. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/australian-secondary-school-students-alcohol-and-drug-survey

[2] Tuson, M., Lizama, N., Kameron, C., Gazey, A., & Wood, L. (2024). Vape stores in Western Australia: growth, proximity to schools and socio-economic gradient of density. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 48(1), 100118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anzjph.2023.100118

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