Researchers from The University of Western Australia and Curtin University will investigate ways State laws can be changed to shield young people from advertisements for e-cigarettes on social media, including from influencers.
Dr Marilyn Bromberg, from UWA's Law School, will lead the study working with Associate Professor Meredith Blake, from the UWA Law School, and Associate Professor Katharina Wolf and Associate Professor Delia Hendrie from Curtin University.
Awarded a Healthway Research Grant for the project, the team will use the $65,000 funding to look at ways legislation and regulatory frameworks can be modified to reduce children’s exposure to vaping ads.
“The main goal of the project is to protect children in Western Australian from vaping which can seriously affect their health,” Dr Bromberg said.
“While over 35 million people globally use e-cigarettes, it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes containing nicotine in Australia without authority and, in WA, selling non-nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is also illegal. However, e-cigarette marketing occurs extensively online and on social media.”
“Research has shown that when young people see e-cigarette advertisements, it increased the possibility that they would try vaping so it is important to have appropriate e-cigarette legislation and regulatory frameworks to control how these are advertised.”
The project team will review current legislation and compare it to laws in relevant areas internationally before making practical recommendations on changes to legislation, regulatory frameworks and policy.
“Our partners are highly experienced in advocating to all levels of governments about e-cigarettes,” Dr Bromberg said.
“We plan to communicate the findings of our research with key stakeholders at a State, national and international level and to share the outcomes with other relevant decision makers to build support for reform.
“We hope the benefits will be that fewer children in WA will see social media e-cigarette advertisements and consequently fewer will vape and experience possible negative health impacts.”
As part of the project, Associate Professor Hendrie will be responsible for costing the impact of the proposed changes to show the expected savings to the WA Government if the findings are implemented.