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  • Writer's pictureBruce Giddings

Vape Ban From March

The latest move by the government follows several failed attempts since 2010 to regulate and restrict sales of the product.

From 1 March, it is illegal for retailers to sell vapes, whether they contain nicotine or not, and consumers will break the law if they try importing vapes from overseas. The only exception is pharmacies that can sell certain products designed to help smoking cessation, but only if the customer has a doctor’s prescription.

Despite the crackdown, many retailers around Moreton Bay continue to identify as Vape Shops and sell a wide range of vapes.

This is allowable because the new law allows stores to sell any stock they have on the shelf, purchased before 1 March 2024.

One store owner indicated to The Local Times that they were considering a change to what they offer, while others seem to be in denial about the new laws, saying there will be no changes in the foreseeable future.

Industry insiders believe the latest crackdown will simply drive the vape business further underground.

One city vape store owner said that existing addictions will likely drive people to obtain vapes wherever they can.

“There’s a danger now that kids who are addicted to disposable vapes will seek them out through the black market,” they said.

Another insider said he expected many vape users to go back to smoking ordinary cigarettes.

Vapes containing the addictive substance nicotine have long been illegal in Australia, but importers have been misleading consumers by failing to declare the nicotine content.

According to Dr Sam Murray, the founder of Quit Clinics, many vape users are unaware of how much nicotine they are inhaling, because of a sneaky loophole used by manufacturers.

He describes the position that existed up until 2024, where nicotine-containing vapes required a prescription to import into Australia, but non-nicotine-containing vaping devices could be imported legally into Australia without a prescription.

He says some overseas manufacturers simply took nicotine off the packaging ingredients list.

“This dangerous loophole means the majority of black market vapes have not been labelled correctly,” Dr Murray says.

Dr Murray also says it is not uncommon for one single device to contain, “the equivalent nicotine of ten packets of cigarettes.”

Attempts by the Federal Government to apply restrictions as early as 2010 have failed due to illegal imports and the marketing strategies used by manufacturers and distributors.

The government has got a fight on its hands. One major multinational tobacco company that is pivoting into vapes has forecast global sales to make up 40 percent of its total turnover by 2025, a clear indicator of the future direction of its marketing efforts.

There is a name for what the major vape suppliers are doing. It’s called ‘coercive consumption’, a strategy long used by some other companies to market their product.  

Coercive consumption is where consumers are enticed into purchases that they recognise as being against their own best interests. Other examples of coercive consumption are gambling and traditional cigarette smoking.

Vapes are clearly causing harm according to the World Health Organisation, which warns of toxic chemicals, including nicotine and substances that cause cancer and other lung disease.

The Cancer Council recently published a study that indicated around one-third of young adults between 18 and 24 were using e-cigarettes (vapes) regularly.

The study also showed that many young people thought that vapes must be harmless because they were so easy to get.

Anyone wishing to get help to quit vaping or smoking can call Quitline on 13 7848.


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