All Queensland high schools gain access to leading anti-vaping program

All Queensland high schools gain access to leading anti-vaping program

Queensland schools are set to benefit from a $5m boost to tackle student vaping after the state’s government announced the expansion of a successful alcohol and drug education program.

A growing body of research has revealed the health dangers of vaping – an issue that Australia’s Education Ministers have been taking seriously as they work with Health Ministers on a national education campaign to eliminate vaping in schools.

Developed at Griffith University and available to schools from Term 4 this year, the Blurred Minds Academy was created in partnership with the University of Queensland’s National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research and features modules on how teachers can address the issue of vaping with students. Learning tools include videos, quizzes, and games, as well a as a guide and slide pack for teachers.

The updated AOD program, currently under review, will provide students with the most up-to-date information about the dangers of vaping and other drugs, encouraging them to make healthy choices and resist the pressures that may lead to experimentation with harmful substances.

Smoking, including vaping, is already banned at all Queensland schools and within five metres of their boundaries. The Palaszczuk Government also recently passed legislation to strengthen tobacco laws and increase smoke-free places, which will now include school car parks.

“We don’t hide from the fact that vaping is happening in our schools, and it is a problem we take very seriously,” Education Minister Grace Grace said, adding that access to the program will complement the current and future work that the department is doing to tackle vaping in schools.

“This is another tool to help schools do their bit, but we need remember that issues like this do not start and finish at the school gate, or indeed at the state border.”

The Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association (QSPA) said it commends the announcement by the Queensland Government of additional support to address vaping in schools. 

“The Blurred Monds Academy will support schools across the state in raising awareness and educating students, parents and the wider community of the dangers of vaping,” Mark Breckenridge, QSPA president told The Educator.

“Secondary school leaders, teachers and other staff will no doubt find the provision of these evidence-based resources of value in highlighting the dangers of vaping to the health of young people.”

Independent School Queensland (ISQ), the peak body representing the state's 236 independent schools, also welcomed the government’s commitment, calling it “a pragmatic and welcome move”.

“Vaping in schools is an issue experienced across all education sectors, and is an issue we know all schools are doing their best to tackle head-on,” ISQ Chief Executive Officer, Chris Mountford, said

“Allowing every Queensland student and teacher the opportunity to access evidence-based information and resources will only bolster the ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of young people taking up vaping and other harmful substances.”