In recent years, vaping has become a growing public health concern, with research indicating that almost one in ten Australians have tried vaping1. Vaping poses a range of health risks, including increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and nicotine addiction2. Vaping culture is especially concerning in young Australians, with those under 25 being the only cohort of Australians facing an increase in smoking rates3.
To address these concerns, the Federal Government has just announced the most significant nicotine reform since tobacco plain packaging was mandated in 2012. Australia is set to ban the importation of non-prescription vape products, with sales of vapes restricted to purchase from pharmacies by those with a prescription3. Doctors will now have greater control over prescribing vapes to smokers who need help quitting. This could serve as an opportunity for vapes to return to their intended use as a pharmaceutical product, rather than a recreational one.
However, this change will likely increase demand for doctors and quitting services, which are already stretched thin. Recent research has estimated that over 1 million Australians are current vapers4, with only 5-10% holding a current prescription5. The transition to a prescription-only model for vaping will require adequate resources, and to address this government has promised a $30m investment into training for health practitioners and support programs to help Australians quit3. Alongside these measures, digital mental health resources can play an important role.
Digital mental health programs and resources can support this increased demand by helping individuals make positive health decisions while minimising the burden on the healthcare system. Australia has a range of digital mental health resources that may be helpful for people thinking about quitting vaping which are evidence-based, easy to access, and free or low cost.
The following is a lost of digital programs to support patients who are considering making changes to their vaping. Whole the majority of online tools were initially developed to target cigarette smoking, these programs use the same behaviour change principles as for targeting vaping use.
Telephone coaching for those wishing to quit vaping or smoking. Features a call-back service where users can book a time for Quit to call them (up to six call-backs offered).
My quit buddy
An app to support all smokers to quit, featuring tips, distraction tools, and an interactive community forum.
I Can Quit
Information, tips, tools and an online community for smokers and ex-smokers.
An online program that delivers personalised feedback and smoking cessation advice based on principles of cognitive-behaviour therapy.
Information resource for people who vape and their families
Informative page on the truth about vaping and e-cigarettes from the Queensland Government.
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping: Factsheet
Information for young people, their parents, people from CALD backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders about drug and alcohol use, including information on vaping.
The Lung Foundation Australia
Information for young people and parents on the effects of vaping.
Information resources for Health Professionals
Tackling Indigenous Smoking
Facts about vaping (e-cigarettes)
Information for health practitioners about vaping in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Information on smoking and vape cessation for health professionals. Links to clinical guidelines and training resources.
Resources for health professionals to talk to young people about vaping.
Webinar on E-cigarettes and vaping in young people
Informative webinar for school staff, parents and health professionals who are seeking information on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vaping.