A 13-YEAR-OLD boy was reportedly found unconscious after vaping in the toilets at school.
The teen was rushed to hospital at about 8.45am on August 3.
A Department of Education spokesperson said: "A student was taken by ambulance to hospital after a minor medical incident this morning."
He is now in a stable condition, local media reports.
No further details have been shared about the child, who is a pupil at Bannockburn P12 College in Victoria, Australia, and was treated at Geelong Hospital.
Parents later told 9News that e-cigarettes were a real issue at the school.
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Mum Bianca Eastdown said: "Little kids can pick them up, it's really scary.
"It's just as scary as smoking. Really kids shouldn't be doing it – and to have it happen in a school is terrifying."
Vaping has been shown to be significantly less dangerous than smoking in the short-term and the NHS recommends using the devices to quit tobacco.
But concerns have been raised about rising use in teenagers who have never smoked.
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Earlier this year, Mark Butler, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, said: "Just like they did with smoking, Big Tobacco has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.
"This is a product targeted at our kids, sold alongside lollies and chocolate bars.
"Vaping has now become the number one behavioural issue in high schools and it is becoming widespread in primary schools as well.
"Over the past 12 months, Victoria's poisons hotline has taken 50 calls about children under the age of four ingesting vapes.
"Vapes contain more than 200 chemicals that do not belong in the lungs.
"Some of the same chemicals you will find in nail polish remover and weed killer."
Nicole Higgins, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, added: "Nicotine vaping products are being sold featuring colourful flavours and we have even seen products featuring the same type of imagery as children's breakfast cereal, including cartoon characters."
E-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke.
They do not burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide – two of the most dangerous elements of traditional smoking.
Thousands of people in the UK and Down Under have quit smoking with the help of vapes.
But the effects of their long-term use is not widely understood.
Experts also fear thousands of young people are taking up the habit early, and potentially exposing themselves to knock-off devices.
Millions of illicit e-cigs have been seized by trading standards departments since the beginning of 2020.
They do not comply with legal regulations, meaning they could have higher nicotine concentration levels, contain banned ingredients or have oversized tanks for nicotine liquid.
Studies also show that illegal vapes can contain high levels of lead, nickel and chromium.
Kate Pike, lead officer at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: "There is a significant number of illegal products on the market, which does not help when we are trying to support public health response which is to ensure the products are much safer than tobacco for smokers looking to quit.
"The main concern is that young people are getting their hands on these products.
"We do not want children or adults getting addicted to something at all like this.
"We know that legal compliant vapes pose a fraction of the risk of smoking but we do not know what the risk is from illegal vapes."
Vaping has now become the number one behavioural issue in high schools and it is becoming widespread in primary schools as well.
In June, NHS leaders sounded the alarm over a rise in the number of children admitted to hospital for vaping.
Officials said 40 children and young people were hospitalised in England last year due to "vaping-related disorders", up from 11 two years before.
Paediatricians also warned that "youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic among children" as they called on the Government to ban disposable vapes.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson told The Guardian: "It is illegal to sell nicotine vapes to children and we are concerned about the recent rises in youth vaping, particularly because of the unknown long-term harms.
"We are taking bold action to end this practice through the £3m Illicit Vapes Enforcement Squad, which will tackle products imported and traded illicitly, remove illegal products from the market that don't comply with our regulations, and tackle underage sales to children."
You must be 18 or over to buy e-cigarettes in the UK and Australia.
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New laws on the other side of the world could mean vapes can only be bought in plain packaging with a prescription at pharmacies.
The Sun has approached Bannockburn P12 College for comment.
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