Thailand continues to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and liquids, as well as vaping. But another country is getting in on the same act.
The Australian government is set to implement a ban on recreational vaping, as well as introduce minimum quality standards for vaping products, as well as restrict their sale to pharmacies. The move comes amid growing concerns of an “epidemic” of nicotine addiction among young people in Australia, with the industry being poorly regulated and a thriving black market.
Australia’s Health Minister Mark Butler has argued that vapes are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts, who are being targeted by manufacturers with sweet flavors and shiny packaging, which are readily available in retail stores alongside sweets and chocolate bars.
While vapes are seen as a product to help smokers quit, in Australia, they have exploded in popularity as a recreational product, especially among young people in cities.
Research presented to the Australian parliament suggests that one in six Australians aged 14-17 years old has vaped, and one in four people aged 18-24. This has led to the Australian government’s view that they are a public health threat, disproportionately affecting young people, many of whom haven’t smoked before.
The new vaping reforms in Australia include a ban on all disposable vapes, a crackdown on the import of non-prescription products, and a requirement for scripts for vaping products that remain legal. Vaping products will also need pharmaceutical-like packaging, and restrictions on flavors, colours, nicotine concentrations, and other ingredients will be introduced.
This means that no more bubble-gum flavors, pink unicorns or vapes disguised as highlighter pens will be allowed.
However, Mr. Butler has also said the government will make it easier for people to get a prescription for “legitimate therapeutic use.”
The Australian government is comparing the new vape reforms to those used to reduce cigarette smoking, which have been successful in reducing smoking in Australia to one of the lowest levels among advanced countries. Nonetheless, some politicians, industry bodies, and health professionals have expressed concern that harsher restrictions could see more people turn to the unregulated illegal market.