The rise of vaping is sweeping through Australia’s new generation

Is it true that a growing number of Australian youth are addicted to nicotine?

Teenager vaping has become a significant issue in Australia. Image: pulka/Flickr, all rights reserved.

Story topic and angle

On 23 March 2023, the House of Representatives Mr. Graham Perrett MP delivered a statement about the serious issue of Australian teenagers vaping, stating “a study led by The Australian National University (ANU) presents that young non-smokers who use e-cigarettes are three times more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes in later years”. Moreover, an Australian survey of school students indicates that approximately 14% of students aged 12 to 17 had tried an e-cigarette.

Despite the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) publishing regulations on e-cigarettes, which require Australians to have a prescription to legally access nicotine-containing e‑cigarette products for any purpose from 1 October 2021, evidence shows that young Australians can still easily acquire illegal e-cigarettes. For example, the Generation Vape study found that 70% of adolescent e-cigarette users acquired the products for free from individuals, while 30% of those who bought their own admitted that their purchase channels included friends and convenience outlets or tobacco shops. Study chief investigator, Associate Professor Becky Freeman from the University of Sydney, speculated that product design and appealing flavors are the primary factors for vaping popularity among young people, claiming “they’re cheap, disposable, easy to use and access, and contain nicotine.”

Various types of e-cigarette products in shops. Image by E-Liquids UK on Unsplash
Various types of e-cigarette products in shops. Image by E-Liquids UK on Unsplash

Teens also reported purchasing vapes through social media. On TikTok, a wildly-used app among youths, people can easily find a lot of videos tagged with popular e-cigarette brands. These videos obviously target a young audience and offer illegal vapes while accompaniment to popular music.

The evidence shows e-cigarettes carry significant harm. A large proportion of e-cigarette products have been detected by the TGA as containing nicotine, although some products are labelled as nicotine-free. Nicotine vaping exposes adolescents to a toxic chemical that impairs brain development as the brain continues to develop until the age of 25, and leads to dependency. The global systematic review discovered that vaping raises the risk of a variety of negative health effects, including poisoning, addiction, seizures, burns, lung injury, and smoking uptake.

Last year, a five-year-old boy was taken to hospital after vaping with his brother and a seven-year-old classmate at school in Victoria. In the same year, the autopsy of a Queensland man showed he passed away from serious lung damage that was highly likely triggered on by vaping. In 2021, a 15-year-old Sydney girl was sent to the ICU due to lung damage believed by doctors to be caused by vaping. Therefore, to protect the lifelong health of Australia’s young generation, I plan to present a feature on vaping among Australia’s youth and try to call for greater government regulation of the issue.

Chosen Publication & target audience

I prefer to post this feature in the health section of ABC News. Since ABC News is the second most popular news and media publisher in Australia, it has a high profile among Australians and has published a number of stories on the topic of vaping among the youth across Australia. The target audience for this article is parents and teachers of young Australians, school officials and Australian government officials. I hope this article will raise awareness of the seriousness and urgency of this issue in Australian society and encourage change.

Source of information

Online resources:

News resources:

  • ABC news

  • The Sydney Morning Herald

  • Cancer Council


  • Two Sydney University students with a background of vaping mainly discuss their personal experiences in vaping and the reasons behind.
  • Associate Professor Becky Freeman from the University of Sydney, who has conducted research on vaping among young Australians (or her coworkers).

Multimedia, Hypertext & Interactivity

  • Use hyperlinks to add more relevant information.
  • Images of e-cigarette products.
  • Videos of the dangers of teen vaping and tips to help teen quit vaping
  • Audio or video of interviews.
  • Embedded twitter posts.
  • Provide contact information such as Quitline.
  • A poll for viewers’ opinions on youth vaping.
About Danqiong Li 2 Articles
A student currently majoring in Master of Media Practice, with a strong curiosity for everything new and a wish for world peace.


  1. This is a good topic, that is common but easily overlooked around us. As we all know, it is a misunderstanding that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes. The Second-hand smoke produced by electronic cigarettes is also very harmful. The author has done very detailed research and research, starting with several related news about the harm of e-cigarettes to teenagers, appealing to people’s attention to e-cigarettes, and leading to interviews about e-cigarettes. But it is worth noting that selecting the ‘Open link in a new tab’ option is recommended when setting links to avoid obscuring the original page when readers click on the link. Overall it is a good study, Keep going!

  2. Hi Danqiong! Australian teenagers vaping is a really newsworthy issue. Your story topic and angle shows that you have done some great research and your angle is all based on information such as ANU and TGA which give credibility to your story angle. I really like how you embed tweets and YouTube videos in your pitch, it shows your understanding and use of multimedia and hyperlinks very well! Your chosen publication match the story very well, and the target audiences are specific and clear. You have chosen a very wide range of ways to source information and the two proposed interviewees could provide supports from different dimension for the story.

    Important to note is that it was emphasised in the course that assignment 3 should not be a simply aggregation of existing research findings or news reports. I noticed just one sentence about the angle of the feature article “feature on vaping among Australia’s youth and try to call for greater government regulation of the issue”. Personally, I recommend narrowing the perspective of the theme in the subsequent preparations, for example how e-cigarettes can affect the health of teenagers, or, how did e-cigarettes become a trend in social media followed by Australian teenagers?

    Furthermore, I think that if you want to use this feature article to call on society and the government to take the issue of e-cigarettes more seriously and regulate it, then the existing headline may not read seriously enough, it reads more like a gentle science article that doesn’t show the harms of e-cigarettes that you want to reveal.

    All the best for your assignment 3! Cheers!

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