Victorian father’s urgent warning as sick boy, 5, rushed to hospital after fears he used vape at school
The boy’s father, Steven, said a seven-year-old child from the school brought their mother’s fruit-flavoured vape to school and asked his son to try it.
Watch the video above for more on the school vaping epidemic in Australia
By the end of the school day the disposable vape was empty and the boy’s parents now fear that he had been using it.
Three weeks after the incident, the five-year-old began coughing and vomiting and was rushed to Geelong hospital where he is waiting to hear if he has developed pneumonia.
Steven said his son had been coughing and struggling to breathe since he found the vape, and is calling for tighter control on the fruit vapes that appeal to children.
“The innocence about it is so dangerous. His friend brought it to school and told him to suck on it because it tastes like grapes,” Steven told the Herald Sun.
“The vape was empty by the time we picked them up from school.”
Dangerous trend with long-term effects
The incident comes amid continuing calls for tighter restrictions on the fruit-flavoured vapes, which appeal to young Australians due to their bright colours and sweet flavours.
While nicotine vapes are currently available in Australia only via prescription, fruit-flavoured vapes, which can also contain small amounts of nicotine and other harmful substances, are widely available.
In Queensland, Year 4 students were suspended last year after disguising their vapes as asthma puffers and bringing them into school.
Since the vaping or e-cigarette craze began in Australia, experts have continued to warn of the ongoing health effects.
A study last year found that healthy men who vape nicotine daily are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as to those who don’t.
And a worrying report by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the percentage of children who began using e-cigarettes by age 14 has tripled since 2014.
In 2019, the American Lung Association reported a rise in teenagers dying from lung damage that was later connected to chemicals in vape liquids, including vitamin E acetate.
In addition, it also said vaping by teenagers was linked to psychological issues, headaches, stomach aches and significant addictions to nicotine.
In Australia, a Queensland man became one of the first official reported cases of a death directly linked to vaping.
The autopsy conducted in February 2022 found the death of the 71-year-old man was likely caused by his decade-long vaping habits.