Sydney teens suffer from seizures and vomiting after Snapchat purchases

“NSW Health urges parents to be aware of e-cigarette use among young people and encourages early discussions to discourage it,” a Health Department spokesman said in a statement.

They added that NSW Health was “increasingly concerned” about the adverse health effects of e-cigarettes, particularly for young people.

“If parents or carers are concerned that someone has been poisoned by liquid nicotine, call the Poisons Information Center on 13 11 26 immediately. If you have collapsed or are not breathing, call Triple Zero for an ambulance immediately,” it said.

Paul Dillon, Director of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA), realized how easy it was for teens to buy vapes on Snapchat when he was leading one of his school education workshops in Sydney.

“A while back, a couple of girls came up to me and said, ‘Want to see how easy it is to buy vapes?'” Dillon recalls.

“It was literally minutes before someone met them at the local train station and sold them 50 e-cigarettes. Now you don’t even have to go anywhere to get them, they will just hand them to you.”


Dillon emphasized that teenage vaping is by no means limited to any particular geographic area or socioeconomic class. “It’s everywhere,” he said.

The NSW Health spokesperson noted that e-cigarettes for sale in the state may contain other dangerous chemicals, including those found in weed killer and nail polish remover.

A 2019 ANU analysis of e-cigarettes for sale in Australia found that of the 243 unique chemicals found in products, 38 were listed poisons and three exceeded poison standard limits.

Some of the e-cigarettes tested in the study contained acetone and formaldehyde.

Professor Brian Oliver, a research director at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research who focuses on respiratory health, said flavored e-cigarettes contain “a whole cocktail of chemicals,” the specifics of which are constantly changing as manufacturers promote new flavors and products .

“It’s the new version of Russian roulette, but players don’t know they’re playing,” said Oliver.

“The same toxic chemicals are found in a cigarette as an e-cigarette, but the difference is that cigarettes are regulated.”

Oliver said manufacturers of single-use vaporizers overseas often research chemicals used to flavor food without considering whether the chemical is safe to heat and vaporize.

“There are thousands of different flavors of e-cigarettes; Nobody has tested them all,” he warned.

In May, Federal Health Secretary Mark Butler announced a series of regulatory changes for the sale of e-cigarettes to tackle the widespread black market that facilitates the illegal purchase of nicotine vapes.

The changes funded in the 2023-24 budget promise an end to imports of over-the-counter e-cigarettes, a ban on single-use e-cigarettes and will mandate “pharmaceutical-like” packaging, restricting colored and flavored products, as advocates by anti-e-cigarettes say say promoting vaping among young people.

Anita Dessaix, director of cancer prevention and advocacy at the Cancer Council, said the recent spate of side effects shows governments need to implement proposed changes as quickly as possible.

“I’m very, very sad to hear about this, but unfortunately I’m not surprised,” she said of the incidents.

The Cancer Council and University of Sydney 2021 Generation Vape Survey of approximately 720 teenagers aged 14 to 17 found that 32 percent had vaped at least once, while 16 percent had vaped in the past 30 days. More than 80 percent of users described access to e-cigarettes as “easy”.

Since 2015, the annual NSW Population Health Survey shows that e-cigarettes are most popular among young people: in 2021-22, 16.5 per cent of 16-24 year olds reported being a current user, which is more than that three times the proportion of 35 to 44 year olds.

Dessaix said youngsters who bought e-cigarettes via social media often ordered large quantities together at a lower unit price.

Dessaix said the Cancer Council is aware that in addition to acute reactions to large doses of nicotine, such as B. seizures, become “nik sick” and experience symptoms such as head rotation and shortness of breath after vaping. Schools and parents have also raised concerns about the behavioral problems caused by nicotine addiction.

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Justin Scaccy

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