CANBERRA (Australia): Disposable vapes used by more than a million Australians will be banned under a major crackdown on vaping that aims to rid convenience store shelves of thousands of products, but the federal government will make it easier for people to vape with a doctor’s prescription.
The Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald printed the following news report: Health Minister Mark Butler will lay out the government’s ambitious plans to eliminate a rampant vaping black market in a National Press Club speech on Tuesday amid concerns that a new generation of young people have become addicted to nicotine.
Health groups are demanding a ban on the importation and sale of all vaping products, except those prescribed by a doctor.
Nicotine vapes are already illegal without a doctor’s prescription but legal loopholes and weak enforcement at the border and in shops have allowed sales to flourish under the counter as well as online.
One in six teenagers between 14 and 17 have vaped and a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds have vaped, according to a recent study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, while Butler has previously said there were as many as 2 million vapers in Australia.
Australia will achieve a world first if it successfully winds back the black market –which sources most of its products from China – and limits vaping to people with a doctor’s prescription.
However, proper enforcement will require a major boost to both Australian Border Force and state and territory police resources, the details of which are still being worked out.
A government spokeswoman said the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Border Force would receive more funding to ramp up their enforcement, but the additional workload and costs had not been finalised.
Butler said the federal government would work with states and territories to stamp out the vaping black market and the import of all non-prescription e-cigarettes, acting on a TGA review that recommended tougher controls.