The Australian government today announced that it will ban the importation of all nonprescription vaping products – including those that do not contain nicotine. The new legislation is being billed as containing the most significant tobacco and vaping control measures in the country in a decade.
To tackle youth vaping, minimum quality standards for vapes will be introduced including restricting flavors, colors and other ingredients. Vape products will require pharmaceutical-like packaging, and the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes will be reduced.
All single-use, disposable vapes will be banned, according to The Guardian.
Speaking on ABC’s Q&A on Monday night, Australia’s health minister, Mark Butler, said that the tobacco industry was trying to create a “new generation of nicotine addicts” through vaping and that he was “determined to stamp out this public health menace.”
The move follows an inquiry into vaping reforms led by the drugs regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), with submissions from health professional bodies, public health associations, individual health professionals and university researchers that overwhelmingly support tightening border controls.
Many public health experts and bodies submitted to the inquiry that border controls should also be placed on non-nicotine vaping products to prevent mislabelling and exploitation of import loopholes. It follows manufacturers falsely labeling products containing nicotine as “nicotine-free” to get around import restrictions, leaving children easily able to buy vapes, often unknowingly inhaling nicotine and becoming addicted.
The government will also work with states and territories to end vape sales in convenience stores and other retailers. Prescriptions for nicotine vaping products for smokers trying to quit tobacco will be made easier to obtain, with stronger standards around the vaping products that can be bought in pharmacies so people can be assured of the content of the products.
Butler said he will expand on the reforms in a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday, where he is expected to say vaping has become “the biggest loophole in Australian history” and announce that the following Tuesday’s federal budget will include AUS$234 million in funding for tobacco and vaping reforms, the biggest since plain packaging of tobacco products was introduced.