Geelong Youth Council presented its third report of 2023 this week, advising the council group to prioritise the issues of youth vaping and consideration of young people when planning major events in the region.
Youth deputy mayor Aleena Eftikhari presented the report at Tuesday night’s council meeting, receiving warm acknowledgement of the Youth Council’s work from the council group.
The deputy junior mayor said the Youth Council had heard from Barwon Health’s Healthy Community Team about e-cigarette use among young people and had also consulted members of Geelong’s Youth Advisory Board Program on the issue of vaping.
“Youth Council members found that vaping is a significant issue for young people across Geelong, with most young people agreeing that more than one in three people they know use vapes,” she said.
The report advised the council to implement four measures to combat youth vaping in the region, the first of which was to increase signage across Geelong to identify vape and smoke free zones and update signs to include information about where to seek help for nicotine addiction.
Other measures included developing a vape and smoke free zone map, implementing a ban on tobacco and e-cigarette product sales in City-owned or managed sites, and advocating the state government for more extensive tobacco and vape regulations.
The Youth Council also asked councillors to develop a policy to ensure young people were considered in the planning of major events across the City and allocate more funds to ensure “age appropriate and youth informed entertainment” at those events.
“When asked what young people would like to see at events, many agreed that a dedicated youth space with free activities and food would be a welcomed addition,” deputy junior mayor Eftikhari said.
“As well as this, opportunities to perform at events, opportunities to engage musicians who appeal to young people and market stalls allocated to young people selling their goods or that have young people as their target audience would be a fantastic addition.”