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1st November 2023 12:27
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:27): 

My question is for the Minister for Mental Health Minister Stitt. The 2021 Unpacking Vaping in Schools study found that students took up vaping for a number of reasons, one being the belief that vapes reduce stress. We know of course vaping introduces a new generation of young people to nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Further research has suggested links between vaping and mental health issues, including anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms.

Clearly there is a knowledge gap when it comes to the relationship between mental health and vaping, resulting in young people making an ill-informed choice to start vaping and opening themselves up to many risks. So my question is: what is the minister doing to ensure young people are educated on the impacts of vaping on their mental health?

Ingrid STITT (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (12:28): 

That is an excellent question, Ms Payne. There are a couple of things on this. In terms of the general order, the Minister for Health has responsibility for our vaping strategies, particularly when it comes to young people and the dangers and some of the unknowns of taking up that particular habit. The education minister also has obviously a focus on making sure that schools are supported to provide that education and support to young people so that we are minimising the uptake.

But in relation to the mental health angle of this, it is something that I think we could probably have some further conversations about. It is not something I have been directly briefed on to date in my mental health portfolio, but I am very happy to take it on notice and see what information might be available through my department. But if it is something that sits with any of those other ministers, I can probably follow that up as well.

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:29): Thank you, Minister, for your response. No supplementary today, thank you.


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