The Australian Government Is Hiring Anti-Vape Influencers

Prominent social media influencers are being recruited in a new effort to combat pro-vaping messaging online, and try and convince young Australians to give up the nicotine habit.

The federal government has signed up nearly a dozen influencers with backgrounds in areas like sport, gaming, lifestyle and comedy to push a message that vaping is doing harm.

It’s a direct pushback on concerns vaping companies abroad are using social media to push their products, including signing up influencers of their own.

Among those taking part in the new government campaign are cricketer Ellyse Perry, gamer and comedian Jackbuzza, actor and writer Ella Watkins and comedy duo the Fairbairn brothers.

The influencers have been hired as part of a broader government campaign, and their content will appear across various social media platforms between now and May.

It’s targeting Australians aged between 14 and 20, in the hope the influencers can “communicate authentically” on platforms they actually use.

Vaping rates skew heavily towards younger Australians, with one in six teenagers aged between 15 and 17 having tried a vape at least once.

Among those aged 18-24, that rate more than doubles to nearly 40 per cent.

Health Minister Mark Butler said their campaign has to lean on voices younger people trust.

“Education is a key step to stopping Big Tobacco companies from luring a new generation into nicotine dependency,” he said.

“It’s pretty clear that teenagers don’t watch TV or listen to health ministers, much as I might like them to, which is why we’ve partnered with influencers that young people listen to: from comedians, to sport stars and gamers, and everyone in between.”

A VicHealth study published last year found a substantial pro-vape presence on social media, with more than 18,000 accounts on Instagram alone dedicated to promoting vaping, and 1,600 of those based in Australia.




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