Media alert: Calls for better health education resources to tackle the vaping epidemic
A Monash University expert is available to discuss what schools can do to help tackle the increasing number of young people taking up vaping.
The following comments can be attributed to Associate Professor Leahy who is also a member of the QUIT Education Expert Advisory Committee:
“The best solution is to limit the availability of e-cigarettes available to young people through the Federal Government introducing a ban on the import of all vaping products.
“With respect to schools, they need to be adopting a whole school approach to address e-cigarette use.
“QUIT is currently developing a number of resources to support schools to do this to respond to the issue. School health education provides us with a key platform by which to educate children and young people about e-cigarette use. Whilst health education is clearly the place for students to learn about the risks of e-cigarettes, we actually need to adopt a cross-curriculum approach. This is especially important as health education is a marginalised subject in schools, especially in primary schools.
“Health education is already overburdened and the reality is if teachers have to include a focus on e-cigarettes it might mean that other important areas receive less attention – or no attention at all. As a subject, health education should ideally be connected with other curriculum areas such as science, English, media and humanities to help students fully understand e-cigarettes and the harms associated with them. We also need to be looking at other curriculum areas, especially if a school has limited or no health education.
“Parents and teachers also require support. QUIT and VicHealth are currently working on a resource hub to support parents and teachers to discuss vaping with their teens. Here at Monash, we are working to embed the topic in our teacher education programs. Amongst other initiatives we need to be offering more support and funding to schools and teachers to be able to deliver quality health education.”