In a bid to tackle high rates of vaping, smoking, and risky alcohol use among young people in our region, the South Eastern NSW Public Health Network is funding various early intervention and preventive health programs.
The initiatives include community and school-based efforts aimed at reducing vaping and smoking among young people aged between 12 and 24.
According to Prue Buist, CEO of COORDINARE, population health data suggests alcohol is a major cause of preventable diseases and harm in NSW. In addition to this, the rise of the use of e-cigarettes also poses alarming concern amongst young people aged 12-24 years.
“As a result, Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has been funded to implement community and school based initiatives that aim to reduce the incidence of vaping and smoking among young people in Southern NSW,” Ms Buist said.
“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) has also been commissioned to implement campaigns in the South Eastern NSW region targeting risky drinking, the prevention and delay of the uptake of alcohol plus community engagement activities that aim to reduce the incidence of vaping and smoking amongst young people.”
Ms Buist said all of the initiatives are developed collaboratively and align messaging with state and national campaigns such as the one run by the Cancer Institute NSW.
“These initiatives are a clever combination of digital media campaigns reaching young people online as well as localised approaches such as the SNSWLD’s collaborative community engagement activities through local high schools and youth organisations,” she said.
“Responsible adults can have a role in helping a young person to be aware of the health risks of their behaviours. The SNSWLHD’s webinar series targeting teachers and parents of young people are an important component of the public health efforts to raise awareness of the health impacts of vaping.”
Parents of young people aged 12-17 years are also the target audience of the ADF’s values-based campaign that aims to prevent and delay the uptake of alcohol.
“The ADF’s risky drinking campaign has been recognised previously with a number of national awards so it is encouraging that this message is proving to be effective. We are determined that by continuing this campaign, there will be even greater awareness and ultimately positive behaviour change for our community,” Ms Buist said.
“The ADF’s community engagement activities align with the Cancer Institute NSW campaign targeting vaping and smoking among young people and will complement the SNSWLHD’s localised efforts in Southern NSW. This is such an important public health issue as vapes can contain harmful chemicals and vaping is addictive and has been linked to serious lung disease.”
Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain who was at the announcement said, “We know that young people are increasingly becoming addicted to vapes, exposing their developing lungs to nicotine and harmful substances. I welcome this initiative from Southern NSW Local Health District in our Eden-Monaro schools, highlighting the negative long-term effects of vaping and alcohol and educating young people in innovative ways that they can relate to.”