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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ACT Government: $2 million to reduce risky health behaviours

The ACT Government will provide more than $2 million over three years to fund community projects to reduce risky health behaviours among Canberrans, targeting vaping cessation and reducing alcohol-related harm, Minister for Population Health Emma Davidson announced.

Four organisations have received Healthy Canberra Grants funding across six projects, including three by the Cancer Council ACT, to provide vaping education and support in sports organisations, schools, and through community services.

Cancer Council ACT will receive $442,992 for its Vape Free Sports program, to work with ACT sporting organisations to provide education, training and support for e-cigarette prevention, quitting and intervention; $264,988 for its School Communities Supporting Students in Vaping Cessation program, to increase access to vaping prevention messaging and quitting pathways in school or college settings; and $181,392 for its Quitting together: Vaping cessation in ACT community services program, to increase vaping intervention skills in the community service workforce and improve quitting pathways for individuals aged 12 and above accessing ACT community services..

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education will receive $572,951 for its Reducing Alcohol Harms in the ACT program, to improve the health of Canberrans by increasing awareness of the risks of alcohol use and promoting the benefits of reduced use.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Inc. will receive $501,484 for its ‘Keep Their Future Bright’ secondary supply campaign, to educate parents and carers about the harms of providing individuals under the age of 18 with alcohol.

Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT will receive $83,210 for its Reducing Nicotine Harms program, to reduce nicotine dependence from vapes from priority populations in ACT non-government alcohol and other drugs programs.

Ms Davidson said the ACT Government is committed to minimising the harm caused in the community from vaping and excessive alcohol use, particularly for young Canberrans and at-risk community members.

“The rates of vaping, especially among young people, are concerning,” Ms Davidson said. “Many of the chemicals used in e-cigarettes are not safe and are harmful to people who use them or are around them. These grants are an important part of the process to reduce harm.

“Vaping is prevalent across our whole our community. If we are realistically going to reduce harm and help people make healthier choices, we also need services in place that support people who have a nicotine dependency but aren’t yet at the stage where they can quit vaping.

“That’s why the ACT Government is in consultation with harm reduction experts to understand what other services are needed in the ACT to support our current approach of cessation and prevention programs.

“Alcohol has immediate and long-term health effects for people who drink excessively, and for their family and community. Excessive consumption can be destructive for someone’s physical, mental and social health, which adds significant and often complex demands on our healthcare and social services.”

Ms Davidson said the grants support the goals of the second action plan for the Healthy Canberra: ACT Preventive Health Plan 2020-2025 – which focuses on five priority preventive health areas: supporting children and families; enabling active living; increasing healthy eating; reducing risky behaviours; and promoting healthy ageing.

The ACT Greens had a Legislative Assembly motion last month calling for better supports for young people who vape.

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