Cancer Council WA clears the air on vaping via first prevention campaign by Gatecrasher


Cancer Council WA has launched a new digital campaign, Clear the Air, created via Gatecrasher in a bid to prevent people taking up vaping, following new data that shows the number of 14-24 year olds who currently vape has skyrocketed since 2020.


Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said the increase in vaping rates in Australia could undo decades of work done to protect young people from the harms of smoking.

Reid said: “Earlier this year, Cancer Council WA received $375,000 from Healthway to develop the first WA-made vaping prevention campaign to raise awareness about vaping harms, prevent uptake among those susceptible to vaping, and encourage cessation among people already vaping regularly.

“At first, it’s the bright colours and sweet flavours that lure young people to vapes, but it’s the highly addictive nicotine content that can keep them hooked.

“Young people have their whole lives ahead of them – we want to make sure vapes don’t affect their ability to live those lives to the fullest.”

National data shows that in 2020, two per cent of 14-17 year olds were vaping. By 2022 that number skyrocketed to almost 12 per cent, which is more than a five -fold increase.

In 2020, almost six per cent of those aged 18-24 years vaped. In 2022, that number had nearly quadrupled to more than 21 per cent.

“This increase is particularly concerning given that people who have never smoked and start vaping are three times more likely to take up smoking in the future.1 Already, for the first time in decades, we are seeing an uptake in the rates of young people using tobacco,” he added.

Reid said: “Cancer Council worked with Gatecrasher and young people to produce the Clear the Air advertisements showing the rotten truth about vapes, such as harmful chemicals, addictiveness, and nicotine poisoning, all of which are hidden behind the deceptively innocent flavours found in vapes.

“Each ‘Rotten Fruit’ advertisement begins by mimicking a colourful and fruity vape flavour advertisement.

“This quickly changes to a vape splitting apart to reveal confronting imagery related to the harmful truths about vapes, including a dead cockroach, a cadaver, a puddle of vomit, and a pile of cigarette butts.

“Many of the young people we spoke to about vaping were shocked to hear there are more than 240 chemicals in vapes,2 that a single vape can contain as much nicotine as three packs of cigarettes,3 and that too much nicotine can lead to serious health problems like nausea, vomiting and even seizures.

“The chemicals in vapes can not only harm people’s health and make them feel unwell, but also impact their everyday life.

“Symptoms like vomiting, breathlessness, headaches and lung irritation can make it harder to work or study and can stop you from doing the activities you love the most. The toxic chemicals in vapes even have the potential to cause serious medical emergencies.

“Clear the Air provides the facts that young people want to know, so we are confident the digital education campaign will combat growth in the use of e-cigarettes for people aged 14-24.”

Clear the Air campaign will run from 29 October 2023 to 30 June 2024 across Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube, streaming services, and mobile apps.

Agency – Gatecrasher
Creative Director – Adam Barker & Lori Canalini
Senior Art Director – Henry Billington
Senior Account Director – Emma Lambert
Account Manager – Sara Cunningham
Producer – Elsie Shaw
Production Coordinator – Jess Seinor
Animator – Cameron Aitkenhead
Sound Design – Ben Wright