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Research, data & insights

Western Public Health Unit investigation into the accessibility of non-prescription e-cigarettes in Melbourne’s west

An investigation into the accessibility of non-prescription e-cigarettes (commonly known as vapes) in Melbourne’s west has found that vapes are being sold in close proximity to schools and are easily accessible to children and young people.

The Western Public Health Unit’s ‘Out and About: Snapshot of e-cigarette accessibility in Brimbank’ investigation set out to map the number, type and location of retailers selling e-cigarettes in the City of Brimbank, a local government area that has higher than average rates of socio-economic disadvantage and a significantly higher proportion of daily smokers.

Over 17 field trips in June 2023, 59 retailers were identified across the City of Brimbank selling e-cigarettes including tobacco and liquor stores as well as grocery, convenience, fuel, café and food stores. The investigation found that 70 per cent of schools were located less than 1km from the nearest retailer selling vapes. 

The investigation’s findings have informed the Western Public Health Unit’s approach to working with local councils and communities to reduce vaping and tobacco related harm. Read the full report below.

Investigation report

Parents, carers and young people can access the facts on vaping by visiting Quit’s Get the facts on vaping online hub at Parents are recommended to find out about vaping, and to talk to their kids about the harms of vaping. The Western Public Health Unit recommends any parent or young person with concerns about vaping addiction to seek help from their GP, or contact the Quitline for advice and support.