An educational programme to highlight the perils of vaping needs to be developed and rolled out in primary schools, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Tim Lombard said the concerning rise in the numbers of children vaping must be heeded and they need to be educated to make informed decisions on their health.
“The current primary school curriculum doesn’t have any provision to educate children about this emerging and concerning trend and that needs to change,” he said.
“A brilliant BT Young Scientist project by two students from Mary Immaculata Community College in Dunmanway surveyed 100 students aged 12-19, and uncovered alarming statistics. Notably, 30% of the surveyed students reported engaging in vaping, which is incredibly significant. The study also found that the majority of students actually began vaping before they entered secondary school. This underscores the need for an education programme in primary school.
“The project also found that 53.3% of the students who vaped also admitted to smoking. Additionally, 52.6% of students who vaped disclosed that they initiated smoking after vaping. The study revealed a glaring gap in education, with 56.7% of students who vaped indicating that they received no prior information on the dangers of vaping during their primary school years.
“Research carried out from the Irish Heart Foundation tells us that teenagers who use vapes are three to five times more likely to start smoking compared to those who never used vapes and that is why is important that we have an appropriate framework where teachers can engage with students to make sure they are empowered in the decision-making processes.
“A draft updated specification for Wellbeing, including SPHE, at Primary level is being undertaken currently by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. It is essential that a module on vaping is included in this updated curriculum and I will continue to pursue this with the Minister for Education,” Senator Lombard concluded.
 IHF-E-Cigarette-Briefing-Document.pdf (irishheart.ie)