Inside teens’ brazen schoolyard vaping tactics
Teens as young as 13 are brazenly using and dealing vaping products in the schoolyard, with teachers labelling the dangerous craze as "out of control".
The Herald Sun has uncovered dozens of social media posts where students from Melbourne schools openly brag about vaping in the toilets, classrooms and on school camps, with teachers saying the problem has reached "boiling point".
In one shocking TikTok post, a female student from Melbourne's north wrote: "After you vape in the bathrooms and walk out like nothing happened with that head spin."
In another post, a student writes: "Every private school kid in Melbourne using them socially."
The Herald Sun also found black market sellers using social media platforms to sell vaping products in fruit flavours to appeal to young teens.
One seller on TikTok, who was selling products containing a nicotine warning label wrote: "Got all of these in bulk, packs of 10 for $110", with dozens of young teens responding with their location, begging the seller to select them.
It is currently illegal under state law for anyone to sell or supply nicotine containing e-cigarettes, but individuals are able to import up to three months' supply for their personal use.
A teacher from Melbourne's north told the Herald Sun the craze was "out of control".
"Students as young as 13 are vaping in the toilets and at the back of the oval. As teachers we can only do so much. I think there needs to be more education around the dangers of it," he said.
Another teacher, with more than 20 years' experience, said students were blatantly dealing vaping products on school grounds.
"The problem has reached boiling point, it's a stupid and dangerous trend that won't go away unfortunately," he said.
"The real concern is that they're using and dealing the products in the schoolyard. There have been several instances where students have been suspended or faced more severe consequences for this - it's not worth it."
In Lalor North Secondary College's latest newsletter, principal Vicki Watson said the school was dealing with a "dangerous and unhealthy trend" of vaping e-cigarettes.
"Unfortunately, we have, as have many schools, seen what seems to be a new trend in the use of a type of inhalants known as 'vapes or e-cigarettes'," Ms Watson wrote.
"This is very alarming, and I'm sure that parents will appreciate being informed about this."
Ms Watson said students found to be using e-cigarettes would be immediately suspended.
Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White said the use of e-cigarettes by students was a "huge concern".
"First, e-cigarettes are not harmless - users are repeatedly inhaling aerosols, containing an unknown mix of chemicals, deep into the lung," Dr White said.
"We also know that there are manufacturers and retailers who are looking for new customers, and e-cigarettes present - to them - a way to get a new generation of kids addicted to nicotine, so there is a lot of investment going into marketing e-cigarettes to kids."
Data from the National Drug Strategy Household survey shows 14 per cent of nonsmokers aged 18-24 admit to vaping.
The Education Department has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Inside teens' brazen schoolyard vaping tactics