Youth Council calls for action on vaping

July 9, 2024 BY

The youth council has handed down its second quarterly report, providing three recommendations to the City of Greater Geelong. Photo: SUPPLIED

GEELONG’S Youth Council advisory committee has delivered its first pieces of advice to the City of Greater Geelong council, focusing on vape access and use.

The report puts forward three recommendations for the council’s consideration, each aimed at reducing vape use among the region’s young people.

“Youth Council believe that immediate action is required to curb vape use among young people in Geelong,” the report stated.

“Unfortunately, the new federal e-cigarette laws are very confusing and have not been well communicated to young people or parents.

“Youth Council members also struggle to see how these laws are being converted on the ground in Geelong, as it is difficult to see what action is being taken in our community to support the federal laws around the sale of nicotine and non-nicotine vape products.”

Noting that the city’s environmental health team regularly inspects and provides education to retailers, the advisory committee has called on the city to monitor more closely, and increase underage test purchases at, vape and tobacco stores located close to schools.

The Youth Council has also recommended the city work closely with vape and tobacco retailers to educate store owners to understand the impacts that product positioning has on young people and establish an anonymous registry of complaints and obligation breaches received by local retailers to assist awareness of the breadth of the issue across the municipality.

Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan said the Youth Council’s work exemplifies the importance of youth engagement in shaping the community’s future.

“It is great to see passionate young people who are keen to have an influence at a public level working together to present their communities.

“Their insights and advice are invaluable, and we are committed to supporting their efforts.”

The Youth Council’s second quarterly report also details its consultations and achievements between the months of March and May, such as its efforts to inform Barwon Health’s ‘be smoke free’ campaign and mental health charity Read the Play’s new program on risk taking for young people involved in sporting clubs.

Junior mayor Hteemoo Yohellaymusaw said having the opportunity to contribute to the design of the new Geelong Youth Hub, which is set to open in early 2025, had been a highlight for the advisory committee.

Launched in 2019, the city’s youth council advisory committee, made up of representatives from each of the four Geelong council wards, provides opportunities for young people aged 12-17 to participate in and learn about civic and democratic processes.

It also provides a mechanism for the City of Greater Geelong council to seek advice and input from young people on a range of youth-specific issues.