Should We Follow Australia’s Vaping Ban?

Australia is to ban ‘recreational’ vaping as part of a major crackdown on what experts say is an “epidemic” among young people. Though vaping is often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, health authorities are worried that its long-term affects are unknown, and that it it being marketed at a young age group.

Australia, which has strict anti-smoking laws, intends to restrict the sale of vapes to pharmacies, and introduce minimum quality standards. Vapes containing nicotine already require a prescription in Australia, but there is inconsistent regulation of the industry and a thriving black market.

Australian Health Minister Mark Butler says that vape products containing nicotine are creating a ”the products are creating a ‘new generation of nicotine addicts’ in Australia, where vapes, or e-cigarettes, have turned from an anti-smoking aid to a recreational drug among young people in cities. , .

“Just like they did with smoking… ‘Big Tobacco’ has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added sweet flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts,” said Mr Butler in a speech announcing reforms. “We have been duped”, he added.


E-cigarettes are considered safer than smoking tobacco because they do not contain the many harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, but health experts say that vaping is not free of risk, and that the long-term health implications of the chemicals found in vapes are not yet known.

In Australia, the government is taking the line that vaping is a public health threat, disproportionately affecting young people, many of whom were not smokers – research suggests that one in six Australians aged 14-17 years old has used e-cigarettes, and one in four people aged 18-24, while only one in 70 in middle age groups has tried vaping.

The Australian government is particularly concerned at the way e-cigarettes are being ‘deliberately targeted at kids and are readily available alongside lollies and chocolate bars’ in shops.

The Australian health minister said that the Federal government would work with State and Territory governments on potential penalties for possession of e-cigarettes unless they had been issued as a medical prescription.

Australia has some of the lowest levels of tobacco smoking in the advanced world, due to tough ani-smoking laws. The proposed new regulations would include a ban on all disposable vapes, and a crackdown on the import of non-prescription products, with prescriptions necessary for the vaping products that remain legal. it’s also proposed to have pharmaceutical-like packaging for vapes, with restrictions on flavours, colours, nicotine concentrations and other ingredients. “No more bubble-gum flavours, pink unicorns or vapes disguised as highlighter pens for kids to hide them in their pencil cases,” Mr Butler said.

However he said the government will also make it easier for people to get a prescription for “legitimate therapeutic use”.


Some other countries, including Singapore and Thailand, have also banned vaping, and Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has been recommending reform, while The Cancer Council said that the proposed changes could “reverse the e-cigarette epidemic and prevent history repeating itself for a new generation of Australians”.

No timeline for the proposed regulations has been announced.

In the UK, to tackle the rapidly growing popularity among children and young people, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is calling on Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, to set out a £4 excise tax on single disposable vapes on top of the usual £4.99 price.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is also requesting action, urging ministers to tighten regulation on the display and marketing of vaping products to match tobacco.

There is also a petition to ban the sale of disposable vapes, but this is largely due to their effect on the environment.

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