CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
Australia’s war on vapes looks to be an unwinnable battle, as the government’s anti-nicotine measures continue to be circumvented by bad ass teenagers who don’t give a shit.
Last month Health Minister Mark Butler announced a raft of government changes to try and address growing vaping rates, something that many people assumed they had already done and just couldn’t be fucked policing.
However, regardless of how many times they want to ban the Chinese fruit batteries – they just can’t outsmart criminal masterminds like 14-year-old Keegan Nockley from Betoota Heights.
“Yeah the cops banned them or something” Keegan tells our reporters, as he discreetly blows a cloud full of chemicals all over his classmates while his teacher’s back is turned.
“But they haven’t stopped me”
“They can’t do shit haha”
With 16 ‘tobacconists’ within walking distance of his high school, Keegan is spoilt for choice when it comes to looking for grey market disposable vapes that blast his nervous system with more nicotine than a Winnie Red.
And that’s just his luck, because he is extremely addicted.
According to a recent report prepared for the Australian Health Department by Cancer Victoria, the Vaping rates amongst young people have exploded since the pandemic, with a significant jump just this year.
People aged between 18 and 24 recorded the highest increase in vaping rates in recent years, reaching nearly 20 per cent earlier this year.
The 25 to 34 year olds had the second highest prevalence of vaping in 2023, followed by those aged between 14 to 17.
For the youngest cohort (14 to 17) less than one per cent vaped in 2018 but it climbed to nearly more than 14 per cent by March 2023.
However rates of vaping in people aged over 50 remained low, at less than three per cent, after a lifetime of trying to give the darts the flick.
When it comes to getting vapes out of the hands and lungs of young people like Keegan, it is not yet known what the government has planned, with many teenage nicotine addicts just hoping they’ll keep hosting sensationalist press conferences before they realise that you can buy these things at just about every corner store in the country.
When asked what he thinks the government should do, Keegan says just ban the lame ones like ‘Tobacco’ and ‘mint’ flavour, and keep the good ones like Cherry Lychee Blast and Blueberry Kiwi Ice.