Australia's First Anti-Vaping Campaign Targets Young People with Social Media and Addiction Messages

Australia's First Anti-Vaping Campaign Targets Young People with Social Media and Addiction Messages

The Nation's First Anti-Vaping Campaign

The Australian government has launched its first anti-vaping campaign, targeting young people who may have started vaping socially but now find themselves doing it routinely. The campaign asks, "Why are we still doing this?"

This $63.4 million campaign is the first to also target vaping, specifically aiming to curb the rising smoking rates among younger people. The campaign will be the first by the government to use TikTok, acknowledging that old advertising methods are not having the same effect on Generation Z.

Focus group research by the health department found that traditional campaigns on health harms were easily deflected because people viewed vaping as a "healthier" alternative to smoking, even if they had not smoked before. However, messages about addiction, loss of control, mental health impacts, and social isolation resonated more with young people.

The government's campaign focuses on the pathway to addiction, hoping to discourage vapers before they become too dependent. Health Minister Mark Butler said, "Nicotine is highly addictive and before you know it, what starts as an occasional thing becomes something much more serious. But it’s never too late to quit."

Major Vape Ban Proposed

Earlier this year, the federal government banned the import of single-use disposable vapes. Further legislation to ban the import and sale of any vapes outside of pharmacies is currently before parliament and due to be voted on at the end of this month, with a planned start date of July 1.

If the bill passes, people will require a prescription to vape and will only be able to buy regulated products from pharmacies. However, the ongoing clampdown on smoking and vaping has raised concerns about feeding a black market.

Mr. Butler emphasized the urgency of preventing a new generation of addicts, stating, "All senators now have the once-in-a-generation opportunity and responsibility to act to safeguard the health of young Australians for generations to come."

The advertising campaign will run across television, audio platforms, gaming, cinema, and billboards nationwide until December.