Preliminary findings from a pilot consultation project that examined the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of high school students, teachers and parents will inform strategies for the prevention of adolescent e-cigarette use.
The Prevention Education and Research Unit of Western Sydney Local Health District conducted consultation sessions with students, teachers, and parents from a Western Sydney high school in 2021.
The study participants identified social influence and peer pressure as a significant contributor to e-cigarette use. They also pointed to the pervasiveness of vaping at school at all year levels.
Participants said the design features of vapes, including the pleasant taste and smell, and the sleek packaging made e-cigarettes attractive to teens. They also felt vapes were more ‘discreet’ and therefore easier to conceal.
Intrinsic motivators such as stress relief and teen rebellion were discussed by participants.
In addition, the study looked at the participants’ perception of risk and found teens’ attitudes towards vaping were that ‘it’s not as bad as smoking’.
The study investigated accessibility of e-cigarettes and sources of vaping information – in both areas the study found internet and social media play a significant role.
Students, teachers, and parents looked at vaping prevention strategies such as encouraging senior students to become vaping prevention advocates and incorporating learning about vaping into school punishments.
These preliminary findings will help inform a research study to be conducted this year, which will allow the themes uncovered by this project to be explored in greater detail with a broader sample of western Sydney high school students, teachers, and parents.
Read the study here.