Schools warn parents as kids get sick from vaping
Exclusive: Students as young as 13 are suffering from severe vomiting, while others are reporting chronic bouts of diarrhoea caused by an alarming spike of vaping in high schools.
Medical experts have revealed some teens are ingesting as much nicotine contained in a packet of cigarettes in just a few hours, with new technology making the smokeless devices undetectable by teachers or parents.
The use of electronic - or e-cigarettes - had soared in the past three years with one in five nonsmokers aged 18-24 using the products.
Frequency of use also increased, with 28 per cent of people using them at least monthly up from 10 per cent in 2016., the latest Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey found
"There's an old saying that we use, if it's in society, it's in your school. So therefore, by definition, if there's an increasing use of E cigarettes in the community, then there would be an increasing use of it in schools,' Australian Secondary Principals Association President said.
The problem has become so chronic high schools have sent letters home to parents warning about a significant increase in vaping.
Cancer Council CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said new nicotine salt type devices that look like brightly coloured USB devices did not even produce a vapour.
Students could be sucking on them in class or even in front of their parents without adults being aware they were vaping, she said.
Sydney mum Jacqueline Woods was distressed to find pictures on social media of her 15-year-old daughter and her friends vaping at a sleepover in her house "there was no smoke, there was no odour'.
"I felt so dumb I didn't even know it was going on in my own house," Ms Woods told News Corp.
She had seen photos on social media of girls and boys from all of Sydney's top private schools vaping she said.
Students were ordering the products on Snapchat and picking it up at local train stations, others were being sold the products by other teenagers in their workplaces, she said.
Ms Woods said she had confronted the owner of a Lane Cove tobacconist after she discovered he had been selling her 15 year old daughter vapes.
Years of hard won reductions in smoking are being overturned the Cancer Council, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health are warning.
"Promotion of e-cigarette use and dismissal of the risks (in the UK) has led to a 20 per cent use of e-cigarettes in 16 to 24-year-olds and coincided with year-on-year increases in smoking from 8.7 per cent to 14.4 per cent in 16-17 year-olds," the bodies said.
While it can take decades for health effects of tobacco smoking to become apparent vaping can have more immediate harmful effects, respiratory physician Professor Matthew Peters told News Corp.
"It can cause an acute inflammation of the spongy lung, in some cases the damage is so severe that patients had to be put on high flow oxygen, or even a ventilator. And in some cases, these have progressed to death," he told News Corp.
In January this year a 15-year-old in Texas died from a vaping associated lung injury after using the devices for only a month.
Earlier this year Health Minister Greg Hunt delayed new laws that would have tightened rules around the importation of e-cigarettes.
Tobacco giant Philip Morris is lobbying the government to embrace e-cigarettes claiming they can help smokers kick the habit.
Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that heat a liquid to produce a vapour that users inhale and often contain nicotine.
Originally published as Schools warn parents as kids get sick from vaping