Students drive anti youth vaping initiative

L-R: Lyndhurst Secondary College students Cindy Phao, Janelle Bias, Olivia Argaet and Michelle Prak.

By Emma Xerri

Over 80 students from Fountain Gate Secondary College, St Francis Xavier College and Lyndhurst Secondary College have taken part in this year’s Safer Cities Project.

The project aims to empower young people to become agents for change on safety issues that affect them, their peers and their community.

The latest issue on that list: youth vaping.

Hoping to educate the local community on the rising physical, mental and environmental safety impacts of vaping, the students have joined forces with the City of Casey to deliver a series of community safety initiatives that centre around the growing dangers and risks of youth vaping.

“It is so important that our youth have an active voice and role in sharing the real dangers of this growing issue in our country,” said the City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff.

“This initiative is all about engaging Casey’s young people to get involved and become the voice of change on various safety issues.”

The first phase of the Safer Cities Project saw the council deliver a school conference in July, in partnership with Vic Police, VicHealth and Quit VIC.

With funding from VicHealth, the event included a series of information sessions and presentations, followed by a competition where students were invited to create an educational video to help inform their peers on the topic of vaping.

The three schools were the award winners, selected by a judging panel consisting of members from Council, VicHealth and Vic Police, based on their creativity and informative content.

“Through the City of Casey’s Innovation Fund, we are proud to support this student-led project with a $25,000 grant to activate their winning ideas. We thoroughly look forward to seeing the creative pieces that come out of next year’s project,” Ms Duff added

Phase two of the project is currently underway, with the winning students working alongside the council, sector professionals and Monash Health to determine how best to share their messaging, and provide information on where young people can get help with quitting.

The project is set to conclude mid 2024 with the group looking at developing an informative video resource for distribution online, in schools and the community.