Vaping nearly always treated in a positive light on TikTok: study
Nearly every video on TikTok that features vaping portrays it in a positive light, an alarming study has found.
The research from Curtin University in Perth found 97.7 per cent of the videos on TikTok they studied made smoking e-cigarettes look good.
Those videos attracted 98.7 per cent of the total views of the 264 vaping videos studied.
READ MORE: What does the new crackdown on vaping mean for Australians?
"The sheer amount of potentially harmful content being fed to young people on TikTok shows self-regulation is failing," study lead researcher Jonine Jancey said.
"These used humour, music, shared vaping tricks and referred to a 'vaping community', supporting the normalisation of these products."
Close to 70 per cent of the vaping posts promoted the vapes for purchase, a violation of TikTok's content policy.
"It seems there are no major consequences for those who do not follow TikTok guidelines and violate content policy," Jancey said.
"Social media platforms can decide the consequences for breaches of their policies, but they have a clear financial incentive not to punish people who breach their policies."
Co-author Tama Leaver said the fact the videos were made by young people for young people made them particularly effective.
"This is essentially a form of peer-to-peer promotion where young people see their friends or celebrities portraying vaping in a positive way," Professor Leaver said.
"In addition, some vaping content is posted by influencers who may actually be paid by the e-cigarette industry to promote their products, although this is not disclosed and young people watching these videos may not even know they are being advertised to."
The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Earlier this month, the federal government announced a pending ban on recreational vaping.
READ MORE: Children's health at risk from vapes, expert warns
The importation of non-pharmaceutical vaping products will be prohibited, meaning they will only be able to be purchased with a prescription from pharmacies.
Single-use disposable vapes will be banned, the volume and concentration of nicotine concentrations and volumes and both flavours and packaging will be required to be plain, the latter with warning labels.
"These are supposed to be pharmaceutical products so they will have to present that way, no more bubble gum flavours, pink unicorns or vapes disguised as highlighter pens for kids to hide in their pencil cases," Health Minister Mark Butler said when announcing the ban.
"Over the past 12 months, Victoria's poisons hotline has taken 50 calls about children under the age of four ingesting vapes. Under the age of four.
"Vapes contain more than 200 chemicals that do not belong in the lungs."
The federal government will work with states and territories to close down the sale of vapes in convenience stores and other retail settings.
But it will still be legal to buy a vape with a prescription from your chemist to help smokers quit for good and Butler said the government will make it easier for doctors to prescribe them.
READ MORE: Deadly chemicals found in some vape liquids prompts warning
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