Australia Today

The Australian Government Is Hiring Anti-Vape Influencers

The “influencer-led youth vaping campaign” aims to target people aged 14 to 20 and combat vape misinformation and "vapefluencer" social media content.
Australian government is working with anti-vaping influencers
A hand holding a disposable vape

As part of its vape crackdown that launched on January 1, the federal government will pay several Australian influencers to make and promote anti-vaping content for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitch to counter tobacco-company-backed "vapefluencers".

They’re calling it an “influencer-led youth vaping campaign” to target people aged 14 to 20. The aim is to “combat the misinformation on social media” around vaping and “spark a conversation with the next generation of Australians about the harms of vaping and nicotine addiction”.


The influencers taking part come from a range of backgrounds like sport, gaming and comedy. They include cricketer Ellyse Perry, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers, gamer Jackbuzza (3.9 million TikTok followers), actor Ella Watkins (2.8 million TikTok followers) and comedians the Fairbairn brothers (1.7 million YouTube subscribers).

In a statement, Health Minister Mark Butler said social media was “awash with pro-vaping content” which the government called “misinformation cynically promoted and stoked by the vaping and tobacco industry”.

He said the influencers on board already have the attention of young Australians and will be able to get the anti-vape messaging to them “in their own unique style and tone, communicating authentically about the harms and reasons not to vape”.

“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,” Butler said.

The majority of regular vapers in Australia are young. Almost half of people aged 18-24 have tried a vape and promotion on social media is one of the many factors in vaping’s rapid rise in popularity. The hashtag #vape has been used on TikTok more than 18 billion times and content showing people vaping or talking through new products and flavours is easy to find, whereas promotion or advertising of smoking has been banned in Australia since the 70s.


Although the selling, purchasing and importation of nicotine vapes without a doctor's prescription has been illegal since mid-2021, vapes are sold in tobacconists and convenience stores seemingly on every corner. They’ve been able to get away with it until this year because almost every vape you can buy is labelled as nicotine-free, or nicotine is simply omitted from the ingredients list. But that loophole closed on January 1 when all disposable vapes, no matter whether their labels disclose nicotine or not, were made illegal.

This new youth campaign coincides with the second phase of the government’s vape law reforms coming into effect on March 1. As of this weekend, the importation expands to require all importers to have therapeutic goods permits, and the quality and safety standards for any legal, therapeutic, prescription vapes will be bolstered. In the coming

weeks, the government will also introduce legislation against domestic manufacture, advertisement, supply and commercial possession of non-therapeutic and disposable single-use vapes.

We don’t yet know what kinda of anti-vape content these influencers will create but they seem pretty excited for it.

Ellyse Perry said: “I’m excited to be supporting the Australian Government on the vaping education campaign and lending my voice to such a critical health issue.”

“As a professional athlete, I know that even occasional vape use would have significant consequences for both mental and physical performance on and off the field.”

Ella Watkins also said: “I’m very vocal with friends and family about the negative physical and mental health effects of vaping and I’m really pleased to be joining this campaign and helping to spread such an important message to young Australians.”

Aleksandra Bliszczyk is the Deputy Editor of VICE Australia. Follow her on Instagram.

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