Canberra, May 2 (IANS) As part of a major crackdown, the Australian government has decided to ban recreational vaping and introduce minimum quality standards, while restricting the sale of vapes only to pharmacies, the media reported on Tuesday.
Nicotine vapes already require a prescription in Australia, but the industry is poorly regulated and a black market is thriving, the BBC reported.
According to Health Minister Mark Butler, the products are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.
Also known as e-cigarettes, vapes heat a liquid — usually containing nicotine — turning it into a vapour that users inhale.
They are widely seen as a product to help smokers quit.
But in Australia, vapes have become a recreational product targeted at kids and “sold alongside lollies and chocolate bars” in retail stores, the BBC quoted Butler as saying.
“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,” he will say in a speech unveiling the reform on Tuesday.
Research suggests one in six Australians aged 14-17 years old has vaped, and one in four people aged 18-24.
“By contrast, only 1 in 70 people my age has vaped,” Butler, who is 52, will say.
The new measures he will announce include a ban on all disposable vapes and on the import of non-prescription products.
Prescriptions will be necessary for the vaping products that remain legal, and they will be required to have pharmaceutical-like packaging.
Restrictions on flavours, colours, nicotine concentrations and other ingredients will also be introduced.
A handful of other countries, like Singapore and Thailand, have also banned vaping and Australia’s medicines regulator — the Therapeutic Goods Administration — has been recommending reform.