Australia to ban recreational vaping in crackdown on e-cigarettes

Australia has banned recreational vaping and tightened other e-cigarette laws in a huge crackdown on the tobacco industry as it tries to stop the rise in teenage vaping.

The government wants to ban all disposable vapes, which often come in fruity flavours popular with young people, ban the import of non-prescription vapes and limit nicotine levels.

It says it is aiming for the sale of vapes to be confined to helping smokers quit.

“Just 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,” Health Minister Mark Butler said in a speech at the National Press Club.

Under the new rules, vapes will be sold only in pharmacies and require “pharmaceutical type” packaging.

Vaping, widely seen as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes and useful for helping smokers quit, involves heating
a liquid that contains nicotine in what is called an e-cigarette and turning it into a vapour that users inhale.

But studies have shown the potential of long term harm from the addictive e-cigarettes.

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Mr Butler said vaping had become a recreational product in Australia, mostly sold to teenagers and young people, who are three times as likely to take up smoking.

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

Doctors backed the vaping crackdown but urged the government to do more to limit the number of young people taking it up.

About 22% of Australians aged 18-24 have used an e-cigarette or vaping device at least once, data last year showed.

Though a prescription is needed to buy nicotine vapes in Australia, a thriving illegal market means they are readily