Australia will ban imports of disposable vapes beginning January 1, the Health Minister said on Tuesday. It is the first step in a crackdown aimed at curbing the growing popularity of nicotine-filled vaping devices with young people.
The ban will be expanded in March to include all non-therapeutic vapes, including refillable devices, while importers of vapes for medical purposes will need permit from the Office of Drug control, Health Minister Mark Butler said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The legislative package will also include a total A$75 million in extra funding for the Australian Border Force and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to enforce the new rules.
Additional legislation next year will apply the same prohibitions to domestic manufacturers.
“These are the vapes that have pink unicorns on them, bubblegum flavouring, disguised in order for them to hide them in their pencil cases,” Butler told a news conference.
To ensure the bans don’t limit access for smokers looking to quit, doctors and nurses will be given expanded powers in January to prescribe therapeutic vapes where clinically appropriate.
But therapeutic vapes will be restricted from using flavors, have limited nicotine levels and be sold in pharmaceutical packaging under new rules to be introduced next year, with a transition period for manufacturers to comply.