Life Ed and icon Healthy Harold have called on Australian students to co-design one of the first Australian education programs for primary school students to help curb the rise in youth vaping. Take A Breath will be aimed at children in Years 5 and 6, and feature stories from those age groups and high school students addressing questions about vaping. The teenagers involved encourage their peers to use critical thinking skills to unpack issues, with all content fact-checked by experts. Life Ed WA CEO Bernie Foley said getting the message into young minds is all about prevention rather than cure. “Educating children before they are exposed to an issue gives them the best chance to make informed decisions, that’s why Life Ed will be delivering education about vaping in the primary school setting where there is a big gap,” he said. The program will feature multimedia for classrooms, booster lesson packs, and face-to-face visits with a highly trained educator and mascot Healthy Harold. Mr Foley said the feedback from schools indicates young children needed the facts around the prevalence of vaping. “What we’re hearing from the primary schools we visit is that students seem to think that everyone in high school is vaping, they’re worried about what they will face,” he said. “When in fact, while vaping is on the rise, most young people make good decisions and choose not to vape. “It’s important we highlight this to assure children that it’s OK to say no, the more we can bust the myths, the less likely future generations will have to face long-term issues from vaping, like we’ve been experiencing with smoking.” This program coincides with the Federal Government announcing harder reforms on the import and trade of recreational vapes. From January 1, 2024, single use disposable vapes will be banned from importation, while consumers will be blocked from ordering vapes online without medical clearance and traders will have to confirm their product aligns with tighter industry standards. In addition, the Government will introduce legislation to crack down on the domestic trade of vapes, expected some time next year. Health Minister Mark Butler said banning vapes is complex, but needed to prevent it spreading to more schools. “There will be no doubt be some vapes that get into the country but they will no longer be easy for schoolchildren, our most vulnerable and impressionable members of society, to get their hands on them,” he said.