Clearing the Air: Australia’s Crackdown on Vapes

In July last year, we highlighted the issue of illegal vapes being readily available in NSW. Despite the dangers they posed to public health, there was a lack of policing in the area of these illegal vapes.

While the Health Minister Mark Butler’s recent announcement to crack down on illegal black market vapes is a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen whether sufficient enforcement will happen.

illegal black market vapes come in a variety of colors and flavors

Vaping a Major Public Health Threat?

The Australian government has announced a crackdown on the use and sale of illegal black market vapes. Butler recently spoke at the National Press Club and outlined changes to combat the growing public health threat posed by vaping, particularly among young people.

According to Butler, vaping has become a major public health concern and could undo the progress made in reducing smoking rates. Many teenagers and young adults are vaping, with some starting as young as primary school. This is particularly alarming given that vapes contain more than 200 toxic chemicals, including some found in nail polish remover and weed killer.

Butler highlighted that Big Tobacco has marketed vapes as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit, but it has become a recreational product sold with sweet flavours and targeting children. Young vapers are three times as likely to take up smoking, and smoking rates are increasing in those under 25.

illegal black market vapes can be as bad as cigarettes

Government’s Plan to Stop the Import of illegal black market vapes

To address this issue, the government has outlined several measures to be implemented.

The plan is:

  • To stop the import of vapes that have no approval as a therapeutic product
  • For vapes to be sold only in pharmacies with pharmaceutical-style packaging and plain flavours.
  • Ban single-use and disposable vapes
  • Increase the minimum quality standards for vapes including by restricting flavours, colours and reducing the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes

This is a significant step towards regulating the sale and use of vapes and ensuring that they are not marketed towards children.

Funding to discourage the use of vaping products

To support these measures:

  • $737 million in the 2023-24 Budget to fund measures to protect Australians from the harm caused by tobacco and vaping products.
  • $30 million for programs to help Australians quit
  • $63 million for a national evidence-based information campaign, with a particular emphasis on young people.
  • $264 million investment in a new national lung cancer screening program.
  • Additionally, a $239 million investment to improve culturally safe and accessible cancer care for First Nations people, including support for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
  • Tax on tobacco will increase by 5% per year for 3 years in addition to normal indexation.

These initiatives will provide support to those who want to quit smoking or vaping and educate young people about the dangers of these habits.

For any inquiries or concerns, contact us today on 02 9261 4281

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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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