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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Australia to Ban Recreational Vaping in Biggest E-cigarette Crackdown 

Australia has some of the strictest anti-smoking regulations in the world

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

AUSTRALIA: Australia banned recreational vaping on Tuesday and tightened other aspects of e-cigarette regulations in a major crackdown on the tobacco industry in more than a decade in an effort to halt the alarming rise in teen vaping.

The government seeks to outlaw all disposable vapes—which often come in fruity flavours—ban non-prescription vape imports, control nicotine levels, and restrict sales of vapes to those who want to quit smoking.

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In a speech at the National Press Club, Health Minister Mark Butler said: “Like they did with smoking, Big Tobacco has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging, and added flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.”

The new regulations mandate “pharmaceutical-type” packaging for vapes and restrict their sale to pharmacies only.

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Vaping, which is widely regarded as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes and helpful for helping smokers quit, involves heating a liquid containing nicotine in an electronic cigarette to create a vapour that users inhale.

But studies have shown that the addictive nature of e-cigarettes raises the possibility of long-term harm.

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Butler stated that vaping had developed into a recreational product in Australia, with the majority of sales going to teenagers and young adults, who are three times more likely to start smoking.

“This is a product targeted at our kids, sold alongside lollipops and chocolate bars,” said Butler, adding that “vaping has now become the number one behavioural issue in high schools. And it’s becoming widespread in primary schools as well.”

While supporting the vaping crackdown, doctors urged the government to take additional steps to reduce the number of youth who use it.

Nicole Higgins, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, stated that “nicotine vaping products are being sold featuring colourful flavours, and we have even seen products featuring the same type of imagery as children’s breakfast cereal, including cartoon characters.”

Thriving illegal market

Around 22% of Australians between the ages of 18 and 24 have used vaping devices or e-cigarettes at least once, data from last year showed.

In Australia, a prescription is required to purchase nicotine vapes, but a thriving black market makes them widely available.

The federal budget, which is scheduled to be released next week, will contain A$234 million ($155 million) for protective measures against the harm that smoking and vaping do.

Australia has some of the strictest anti-smoking regulations in the world. In 2012, it became the first nation to mandate that tobacco manufacturers give up distinctive, eye-catching branding and offer their goods in consistently dull packs.

Tobacco companies quickly switched to e-cigarettes that come in a variety of flavours and developed designs aimed at a new generation of users.

Butler stated that the government has no plans to follow nearby New Zealand in outlawing the sale of cigarettes to future generations, but that the levy on tobacco will be hiked by 5% annually over the next three years in an effort to reduce sales.

Some nations have attempted to restrict vaping, while others view it as a useful tool for helping smokers break their habit.

In April, Britain said that up to one million smokers would be enticed to switch from cigarettes to vapes in what was a world first, offering financial incentives to expectant mothers and providing starter kits of e-cigarettes to help.

Also Read: Serious Problem and Ill-effects of Vaping among Adolescents and Young Adults


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