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Australia to Ban Import of Disposable Vapes From January 1

Australia is set to implement a series of measures to curb the rising trend of youth vaping and nicotine addiction. The government announced on Tuesday that it will ban imports of disposable vapes starting January 1, 2024, with further legislation planned for 2024 to prohibit the manufacture, advertising, or supply of disposable vapes.

Australia to Ban Import of Disposable Vapes From January 1

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Health Minister Mark Butler said that vaping was introduced as a therapeutic tool to help long-term smokers quit but has evolved into a dangerous recreational product.

The ban on single-use e-cigarettes aims to address the health risks associated with nicotine addiction, especially among the youth.

The government is taking decisive action to prevent vaping from becoming a gateway to tobacco smoking, with evidence indicating that young Australians who vape are about three times more likely to take up smoking.

The Australian Medical Association welcomed the government’s move, describing it as “decisive action to stop vaping in its tracks.”

According to a government statement, approximately one in seven children aged 14-17 in Australia currently uses vapes.

The government also cited consistent evidence that young vapers are at a higher risk of transitioning to tobacco smoking.

The ban on disposable vapes will be followed by additional restrictions. In March, the importation of all non-therapeutic vapes, including refillable devices, will be prohibited.

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Only doctors and nurses will be authorized to prescribe therapeutic vapes, and a permit from the Office of Drug Control will be required for importing vapes for medical purposes.

The government plans to introduce a scheme allowing medical practitioners to prescribe vapes “where clinically appropriate” from January 1.

This move is intended to ensure that individuals seeking to quit smoking can still access vaping products under medical supervision.

The government is committed to striking a balance between curbing youth vaping and providing support for smokers attempting to quit through safer alternatives.

Legislation in 2024 will have prohibitions to domestic manufacturers, advertisers, suppliers, and commercial possessors of non-therapeutic and disposable vapes.

The government is allocating an additional $25 million to the Australian Border Force and $56.9 million to the Therapeutic Goods Administration over two years to enforce these new rules.

Australia has taken steps to reduce smoking rates. In 2012, it became the first country to introduce plain packaging laws for cigarettes, a policy later adopted by several other nations.

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High taxes have also been leveraged to discourage smoking, with the price of a cigarette packet reaching approximately 50 Australian dollars (US$33). Some argue that vaping can serve as a dangerous gateway to tobacco smoking for some youth.

Kim Caudwell a senior lecturer in psychology at Australia’s Charles Darwin University, highlights the impact on population health, stating, “You can understand how at the population level, increased vaping and a resurgence of tobacco use will impact population health in the future.”

The government addressed that the focus is on vendors and not individuals, with no intention to prosecute vapers.

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance has launched billboards warning of imprisonment for vapers, but public health experts dismiss this as a scare campaign.

The government’s objective is to hold the vaping industry accountable for addicting Australian teenagers to cheap, flavored, and harmful products. As the new regulations are set to take effect, discussions have emerged about opposition.

The Australian Greens, a political party, has received calls and emails from individuals engaged in a campaign urging the legalization of vaping. The government remains confident that the Senate, including the Greens, will support the reforms.

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