Australia Cracks Down On Vaping

In an effort to discourage use, especially among teens, the Australian government announced it will ban E-cigarettes and other vaping devices through a rigorous set of controls on import and packaging. Australian Health Minister Mark Butler commented on the major crackdown, saying vaping has become a top behavioral issue in high schools and a growing problem in elementary schools; however, he understood the products have a therapeutic use under the right circumstances.

“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 – in particular not one for our kids. But that is what it has become – the biggest loophole in Australian history.”

- Mark Butler, Australian Health Minister

The new reforms mark the largest smoking reforms in over a decade and include products that do not contain Nicotine.

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What Is The New Policy?

The ban on vaping devices by the Australian government includes a range of new restrictions on both Nicotine and non-Nicotine vaping devices. Perhaps the most restrictive aspect of the new regulation is the complete and total ban on the importation of vaping devices to Australia. With the exception of pharmacies, importing vaping devices to Australia is now a crime.

The new regulations also impose minimum quality standards on vaping devices, including restricting flavors, colors, and other ingredients. Vaping devices in Australia now must also have pharmaceutical-like packaging and must abide by new regulations on the volume and concentration of Nicotine. Lastly, all single-use vaping devices will be banned.

One of the major concerns raised by major tobacco companies and vaping lobbyists is that these new regulations “amount to prohibition.” This concern, albeit coming from the industries being affected by the regulation, isn’t without concern, as the criminalization of drugs requires major criminal justice reform, and has failed to reduce harm.

Nevertheless, the Australian government is set to move forward with these large-scale bans in an effort to curb vaping use, primarily among teens.

Is Vaping Now Illegal In Australia?

One of the largest concerns many Australians may understandably have is whether or not they are still allowed to vape. The reforms put in place, as stated by Mark Butler, “are targeted at the manufacturers and importers, not the consumers.” Vaping is already illegal in Australia for those under 18; however, many convenience stores have circumvented these regulations by selling products falsely labeled “Nicotine-free.”

In a recent press conference, Butler reaffirmed these concerns, saying “I don’t think any state has a law in place that penalizes people using vapes. The laws focus on vendors, not on people, not on customers, certainly not on kids, and that’s what we want to see enforced.”

Before these regulations were implemented, the only way to buy a vaping device in Australia was through a prescription provided by a doctor to a pharmacy; however, products still remained widely available across the country.

Why Has Australia Banned Vaping Devices?

Australia’s near ban on vapes is not without cause. Across the globe, researchers have found that Nicotine addiction among teens is directly related to increased vaping habits. In recent years, teenage vaping has skyrocketed, with nearly 33% of all teens in Australia alone reporting vaping at one point. Teen vaping has been linked to numerous psychological issues, including headaches, mood disorders, lowered impulse control, and attention issues.

Some argue that vaping is a “healthy” or “safe” alternative to smoking, with some countries like the United Kingdom even advertising them as smoking cessation devices. While vaping has, for some, undoubtedly helped lead to a smoke-free lifestyle, the reality is they are not being used for smoking cessation en mass. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, and pregnant people, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and can have serious effects on the developing brain. In many countries, America included, vaping has become an “epidemic” among teens and children. According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 2.5 million middle and high school-aged students reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices.

Quit Vaping Today

Vaping is a serious public health concern and one that should be taken seriously by parents who may suspect their teens of vaping. According to the CDC, vaping products are one of the most popular substances used by teens and young adults. No matter how it’s ingested, Nicotine is extremely harmful, and can quickly lead to an addiction.

For those looking to quit cigarettes or vapes, the CDC recommends creating a quit plan and speaking with a counselor to start the process of quitting vaping. For these individuals, online therapy can be a great option to help them quit smoking without any serious interruptions to their daily life. To learn more about online therapy, view a complete list of options here.

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Zachary Pottle

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  • Zachary Pottle earned his B.A. in Professional Writing from Saint Leo University and has over three years of journalistic experience. His passion for writing has led him to a career in journalism, where he specializes in writing about stories in the pain management and healthcare industry. His main goal as a writer is to bring readers accurate, trustworthy content that serve as useful resources for bettering their lives or the lives of those around them.

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