School staff perceptions of the nature and consequences of students’ use of e-cigarettes

Simone Pettigrew, Mia Miller, Anjali Kannan, Thout Sudhir Raj, Min Jun, Alexandra Jones

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Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the nature and consequences of student vaping in Australian primary and secondary schools by consulting staff working in these settings. 

Methods: A national sample of 196 school staff was accessed via a web panel provider and administered an online survey about students’ e-cigarette use. Three-quarters of the survey respondents were teachers/teacher aides, with the remainder divided between those in other student-facing roles and office staff. 

Results: A majority (78%) of respondents expressed concern about current levels of vaping in schools. Around half reported negative outcomes relating to mental well-being, social/peer interactions, and school performance. Only one-third of respondents reported a vaping policy (35%) or vaping-prevention education (31%) being in place at their schools. 

Conclusions: E-cigarette use in schools is an area of concern for school staff, yet relevant policies and education programs appear to be lacking. Implications for public health: Schools represent a key context for encouraging health promoting behaviours and discouraging harmful behaviours, including vaping. These results highlight the need to monitor and address student e-cigarette use in schools and provide staff with greater support to prevent the negative consequences associated with vaping by children at school and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-681
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume46
Issue number5
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

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