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A five-year-old in Victoria has been rushed to hospital after vaping at school, prompting calls from concerned parents to place tighter restrictions on the smoking devices that may appeal to children due to their fruit flavours.
The child was admitted to hospital after ingesting the chemicals found in the disposable vape that had been brought to school by a friend.
The e-cigarette belonged to the mother of one of the other children, who had brought it to school to share with friends.
“The innocence about it is so dangerous. His friend brought it to school and told him to suck on it because it tastes like grapes,” the boy's father told the Herald Sun.
“The vape was empty by the time we picked them up from school.”
Although the playground smoking incident occurred weeks ago, the five-year-old has since suffered ongoing health problems and was rushed to hospital on Friday after coughing and vomiting.
His family are awaiting test results to determine if he has contracted pneumonia.
The incident has prompted fresh calls for further restrictions for the disposable nicotine devices.
It is estimated that more than 200,000 Aussies are now using vapes.
In October, the Australian Medical Association introduced tougher laws to curb access to e-cigarettes to protect smokers and the non-smoking public, including children.
Vapes containing nicotine can now only legally be obtained with a prescription.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said that vaping is not the risk-free version of smoking many believe it to be, and poses a serious risk to younger children.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has written to the TGA expressing his concern it published a list of prescribers of nicotine vaping products, some of which “masquerade” as smoking cessation services when they do nothing more than provide easy access to nicotine vaping products.— AMA Media (@ama_media) December 17, 2021
"Vaping is not a risk-free version of smoking that some would have us believe. It is addictive, is associated with proven harms and we know that if nicotine gets into the hands of young children and is ingested, it is highly toxic and can be fatal in small amounts," he said.— AMA Media (@ama_media) December 17, 2021
“It is addictive, is associated with proven harms and we know that if nicotine gets into the hands of young children and is ingested, it is highly toxic and can be fatal in very small amounts,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Khorshid said the AMA was particularly concerned about the uptake of vaping among young people.
In 2019, nearly 2 in 3 (64%) current smokers and 1 in 5 (20%) non-smokers aged 18–24 reported having tried vapes.
“Although the loud advocates of vaping argue they’re mostly used by people wanting to quit smoking, the data we have doesn’t support this claim. Just 43% of people who said they used vapes were regular smokers at the time they took up vaping, and the most common reason reported for trying e-cigarettes was ‘out of curiosity’.”