The first New Zealand guidelines to support youth to quit vaping have been released today at the New Zealand Respiratory Conference in Wellington.
‘A reference guide: To support rangatahi to quit vaping’ – written and published by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ – is aimed at helping health professionals who work with adolescents and young adults (AYA) to tackle vaping and e-cigarette addiction.
Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the decision to develop these guidelines stemmed from the lack of support currently available for younger generations.
ARFNZ CE Letitia Harding with the newly released Youth Vaping handbook.
“We have been advocating for a long time for dedicated support services to help our young people quit vaping.”
It is widely documented that around 1 in 5 (20%) of high school students are now regular vapers.
Yet, currently, smoking cessation services in New Zealand are funded only to support those over 16 years old wanting to stop or reduce their cigarette smoking.
“It's our hope that these guidelines will assist health professionals to support AYA, who are now dependent on vapes, to become nicotine-free.”Ms Harding says.
The guidelines are a 'living document', which can be added to as new information becomes available, she says.
Foundation Āpiha Takawaenga Māori (Māori Community Liaison) Sharon Pihema says the lack of support services has been a major obstacle for rangatahi wanting to quit vaping.
“Our rangatahi and their whanau have been trying to get help from Quitline and their GPs, but with no funding allocated, they get no support. It's almost as if they need to start smoking so they can get help to quit vaping."
Ms Pihema hopes these guidelines will remove those barriers.
“They need one-on-one support, a plan, and ongoing follow-up to make sure they can successfully quit vaping and lead healthier lives."
Professor in Public Health Interventions, University of New South Wales, Hayden McRobbie, who is a health behaviour change expert with experience in managing tobacco dependence, says these guidelines are a positive step in assisting youth to quit vaping.
“There is currently a dearth of evidence for vaping cessation, however these guidelines provide some practical tips that health professionals will find helpful,” Professor McRobbie says.
The guidelines are available to download from the Foundation’s website here.
They are also available through our dedicated vaping website Don’t Get Sucked In.
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