“The former government allowed this black market to flourish for too long and as a result, vaping has become a menace in our schools and society."
Australia is set to introduce a major reform in smoking regulations as it prepares to ban the sale of non-prescription vapes in the country.
The $234 million crackdown comes as part of the country's efforts to reduce the number of young people vaping and the associated health risks and will see disposable vapes completely banned, as well as new restrictions on flavours and colours.
However, the federal government will now make it easier for people to vape with a doctor’s prescription, though they will require pharmaceutical-like packaging and have reduced nicotine concentrations and volumes.
Another $30 million will be invested in support programs for those who quit, and $140 million to combat smoking and vaping among Indigenous Australians.
Health Minister Mark Butler said the crackdown comes amid concerns over the number of young people addicted to nicotine, adding that vapers are three times as likely to take up smoking.
“The former government allowed this black market to flourish for too long and as a result, vaping has become a menace in our schools and society,” Mr Butler will tell the National Press Club on Tuesday.
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“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."
“Vapers are three times as likely to take up smoking, which explains why under 25s are the only cohort in the community currently recording an increase in smoking rates.”
According to a recent study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, one in six teenagers between 14 and 17 have vaped and a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds have vaped.
The ban on non-prescription vapes is set to be the biggest change to smoking regulations in over a decade. The decision was made after extensive research into the effects of vaping on public health.
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions, with some health organisations welcoming the move while others expressing concern about the potential impact on smokers who are using vapes to quit traditional cigarettes.
This move marks a significant shift in smoking regulations in Australia and is part of a wider global trend towards greater restrictions on vaping and tobacco use.