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Federal Government hires influencers for anti-vaping campaign

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The Federal Government is working with popular social media influencers, athletes, comedians and gamers, to warn teenagers about the dangers of vaping.
federal government influencers vaping

The Federal Government is working with popular social media influencers, athletes, comedians and gamers, to warn teenagers about the dangers of vaping.

A group of influencers have signed on to a social media campaign aimed at speaking to“the next generation of Australians about the harms of vaping and nicotine addiction”.

It comes amid a rise in pro-vaping content online. A 2023 study by the Cancer Council identified 18,000 Instagram ‘influencer’ profiles “solely dedicated” to promoting vaping.

Influencers

The anti-vaping social media campaign is part of a broader vape crackdown specifically targeting young people.

It will be rolled out to millions of users on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify, YouTube and Twitch.

Australian cricketer Ellyse Perry, actor and content creator Ella Watkins, and online comedy duo Lachlan and Jaxon Fairbairn (‘Fairbairn Films’) are among those involved.

Gaming content creator ‘JackBuzza’, who has almost four million TikTok followers, has also signed on.

JackBuzza said “a lot” of young people involved in gaming and content creation choose to vape without understanding the health implications of the products.

Junior professional surfer Zahlia Short cited the environmental impacts of vaping – including those on the ocean – as a reason for joining the campaign.

Federal government’s plan

Health Minister Mark Butler said education was a “key step” to reducing nicotine dependency among young people.

He said it was “pretty clear that teenagers don’t watch TV or listen to Health Ministers”, and that the influencers could help counter the “enormous amount of misinformation and online advertising designed to lure teenagers into vaping”.

Opposition response

Shadow Health Minister Anne Ruston told TDA: “No one wants to see Australian children having access to vaping products or becoming addicted to vaping”.

She added that the Coalition recognised the importance of using “appropriate” platforms to engage with young people, like social media.

Ruston also stressed the importance of enforcing bans on the import and sale of vaping products. She said many children were still accessing vapes through a “growing black market”.

Federal Government’s vaping crackdown

The influencer campaign coincides with a total ban on the importation of recreational vapes, beginning on Friday.

New requirements for vapes used for medical purposes will also begin at the end of the week. It’s intended to stop suppliers from importing flavoured vapes and bright packaging.

Legislation to ban the domestic manufacture of vapes is expected in the coming weeks.

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