The Australian government is expected to announce a crackdown on illegal vaping as early as next week, as concerns rise over the increasing uptake among teenagers.
The health minister, Mark Butler, will announce long-mooted changes to vaping regulation, including introducing plain packaging and a ban on certain flavors, ahead of the federal budget on May 9, according to media reports.
News.com.au first reported on Friday that Butler had promised “substantial action”, saying the government planned to move on “non-pharmaceutical” vapes, and indicating a focus on importation from overseas.
He told the publication there had been enforcement issues – because vapes are imported in small boxes, making them hard to intercept at the border, and a reluctance for state and territories to divert resources to policing the black market.
“So we’ve got to take action on the border,” Butler said. “States have to take some action around policing and retail arrangements. I think there’s the appetite to do that.”
Butler’s office declined to comment on the news.com.au report. However, Guardian Australia understands the minister will discuss a vaping crackdown in his speech to the National Press Club on May 2, a week before the federal budget.