MINISTER’S STATEMENT: E-CIGARETTES
I rise to update the house on the Andrews Labor government’s new campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with e-liquids after alarming information revealed that these products are becoming more deadly. As vaping continues to rise, so do the associated harms, not just for the person vaping but for their loved ones around them. Liquid nicotine is poisonous and can cause serious illness or even death if ingested, with children and pets being particularly vulnerable. The liquids used in e-cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine, and the packaging can often be inaccurate when it says it does not contain nicotine. Members interjecting. Ms MIKAKOS: Those opposite might not be interested that we have actually had a child die and a coronial inquest as a result of ingesting e-liquid nicotine, but it would be nice if they actually paid attention. Data from the Victorian Poisons Information Centre shows concentrations of nicotine are getting stronger and the number of child poisonings from e-liquids are increasing. Reports of child poisoning due to liquid from e-cigarettes have been on the rise, with 17 cases this year compared to 12 last year. The concentrations are actually also increasing, which is very concerning. We know that these products are coming in flavours and packaging that are attractive to children, but they are not in childproof packaging. This is why I raised the issue around the need for a nationally consistent approach to the packaging and labelling of e-liquids at the COAG Health Council back in March. The campaign that we are launching today highlights the importance of being vigilant when using and storing e-liquids around children and comes in response to the coronial inquest for an 18-month-old child last year. The chief health officer earlier this year put out an advisory on e-liquids, including a fact sheet about the dangers of e-liquids, and in July we updated the Better Health Channel with information. I am urging parents to store e-liquids very safely, to lock them up, to keep them away from children, to be vigilant and to make sure that these e-liquids are out of reach and out of sight of children.