Health

Huge crackdown on vaping in Australia

The Government’s biggest crackdown on e-cigarettes in Australian history will be unveiled in the May budget.

The biggest crackdown on e-cigarettes in Australian history is set to be unveiled in the May budget amid fears vaping has emerged as a serious behavioural crisis in schools across the nation.

More than a thousand teenagers aged 15 to 17 were asked where they could get vapes, 4 out of 5 of them said they found it easy or somewhat easy to buy them in retail stores.

The Minister for Health will be announcing the Government’s plans to reduce smoking and stamp out recreational vaping – particularly among young Australians – through stronger legislation, enforcement, education and support.

Non-prescription flavoured vapes will be banned and the amount of nicotine allowed in the prescription-only products will be slashed under a major crackdown to be announced by the Federal Government.

The 2023–24 Budget will include $234 million to fund new measures to protect Australians against the harm caused by tobacco and vaping products.

It’s set to ban the importation of most vapes, introduce plain packaging and strip them from convenience store shelves under world-first reforms.

The Government will work with states and territories to stamp out the growing black market in illegal vaping, including to:

  • Stop the import of non-prescription vapes;
  • Increase the minimum quality standards for vapes including by restricting flavours, colours, and other ingredients;
  • Require pharmaceutical-like packaging;
  • Reduce the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes; and
  • Ban all single use, disposable vapes.

The Government will also work with states and territories to close down the sale of vapes in retail settings, ending vape sales in convenience stores and other retail settings, while also making it easier to get a prescription for legitimate therapeutic use.

“There is no place for vaping as an evidence-based smoking cessation strategy in the management of nicotine dependence,” Associate Professor Johnson George, Monash University Centre for Medicine Use and Safety says.

“Efforts should be directed at improving access to subsidised smoking cessation treatments in combination with behavioural counselling. Prescription and non-prescription smoking cessation medications currently available are safe, efficacious and cost effective. Other approaches should not be considered until such options have exhausted.”

The Budget will include $63m for an evidence based public health information campaign to discourage Australians from taking up smoking and vaping and encourage more people to quit.

There will be $30m invested in support programs to help Australians quit, and education and training in smoking and nicotine cessation among health practitioners will be strengthened.

A further $140 million for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program which will be extended and also widened to reduce vaping among First Nations people.

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