Australian Vape Ban? What Are They Playing At?

I often peruse Twitter to see what is going on in the world for vapers, and it seems right now to be dominated by the Australian Vape Ban.

What the bloody hell is going on?
It appears that on May 2nd 2023 the Australian Government introduced a ban on “Recreational Vaping”.

Also there will be minimum standards introduced and only Pharmacies will be able to stock vapes for those with a prescription. Import of non-prescription products, certain colours, flavours, nicotine strengths and Disposable vapes have also been banned.

Prior to this vapes were a prescription only medication and from what I can see this is not working well for the majority of people who either already vape or want to try vaping to quit smoking.

According to an article on the BBC News website, the Health Minister Mark Butler is really in a mood with vaping. Some of his quotes include…

“Just like they did with smoking… ‘Big Tobacco’ has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added sweet flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts,”
“We have been duped.”
“Only 1 in 70 people my age has vaped,”
“No more bubble-gum flavours, pink unicorns or vapes disguised as highlighter pens for kids to hide them in their pencil cases,”

Mr Butler has also stated that the Government will make it easier to obtain a prescription for “Legitimate Therapeutic Use” vaping products.

The exact timeline of these rules being implemented will be announced at a later date.

The Media Release of the rules can be found here on the Health Gov AU website.

Just as a summary, below are some of the main points of the media release from Mark Butler on 2nd May 2023…

The Government will work with states and territories to stamp out the growing black market in illegal vaping, including to:

·stop the import of non-prescription vapes;
·increase the minimum quality standards for vapes including by restricting flavours, colours, and other ingredients;
·require pharmaceutical-like packaging;
·reduce the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes; and
·ban all single use, disposable vapes.

“The 2023–24 Budget will include $737 million to fund a number of measures to protect Australians against the harm caused by tobacco and vaping products.”

“The Budget will include $63m for a public health information campaign to discourage Australians from taking up vaping and smoking and encourage more people to quit.”

“There will be $30m invested in support programs to help Australians quit, including through enhanced nicotine cessation education and training among health practitioners.”

“Tax on tobacco will be increased by 5 per cent per year for 3 years in addition to normal indexation. The Government will also align the tax treatment of loose-leaf tobacco products (such as roll-your-own tobacco) with the manufactured stick excise rate to ensure these products are taxed equally.

Both of these changes will reduce the affordability of tobacco, which is consistent with the priorities of the National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030 (the Strategy), which the Australian Government has released today.”

At the bottom of the release are a bunch of “Quotes attributable to Minister Butler”…

“Young people who vape are three times as likely to take up smoking. So is it any wonder that under 25s are the only cohort in the community currently recording an increase in smoking rates?”

“Vaping is creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community. It poses a major threat to Australia’s success in tobacco control and the Albanese (Anthony Albanese Aus Prime Minister) Government is not going to stand by and let this happen.”

“Vaping was sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit. It was not sold as a recreational product – especially not one targeted to our kids but that is what it has become.”

“After nine years of delay and inaction by the former government, the gains of Labor’s world-leading plain packaging reforms have been squandered.”

“Australia needs to reclaim its position as a world leader on tobacco control.”

“These reform measures will help protect the health of Australians, while reducing the pressure on our health system and critically it will help to achieve a reduction in smoking rates to 5 per cent or less by 2030.”

I have to say all these measures to combat illegal “black market” devices would not be needed if the industry was well regulated. By prohibiting things you automatically create a Black Market. It won’t stop people vaping but unfortunately the quality of devices they can get hold of will be questionable. It affects peoples safety not to mention their human rights.

It is worth noting that Australia are one of the slowest countries for a decline in smoking rates and if they continue on this path of prohibition the decline will slow down even further. In countries such as Sweden who are open to Tobacco Harm Reduction, their smoking rates have dropped a huge amount in a short time.