The Australian government has announced a new measure to curb the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products, especially among young people. Starting from January 1, 2024, the importation of single-use or disposable e-cigarettes and vaping devices that contain nicotine will be prohibited, unless approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The ban will also apply to e-liquids that contain nicotine and are intended for use in refillable devices. The TGA has not approved any e-cigarettes or vaping products as therapeutic goods to help smokers quit, and has warned that they may pose serious health risks.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said that the ban was necessary to protect the health of Australians, especially the youth, who are increasingly taking up vaping as a trendy habit. He said that vaping products are not harmless, and can contain harmful chemicals, metals, and toxins that can cause lung damage, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
“Vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking, and we are determined to prevent a new generation of Australians from becoming addicted to nicotine,” Hunt said. “We are also concerned about the environmental impact of these products, which are often discarded as litter and can harm wildlife and marine life.”
The ban will not affect the current personal importation scheme, which allows individuals to import up to three months’ supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquids with a valid prescription from a doctor. However, the government is planning to introduce a new permit system to regulate this scheme and ensure compliance with the TGA’s standards.
The government’s decision has been welcomed by public health experts and anti-smoking groups, who have long advocated for stricter regulation of vaping products. They have argued that vaping products are not proven to help smokers quit, and may instead act as a gateway to smoking or dual use.
However, the decision has also been met with criticism and opposition from some vaping advocates and retailers, who have claimed that vaping products are safer than cigarettes and can help smokers quit. They have also argued that the ban will create a black market for vaping products, and deprive smokers of a less harmful alternative.
The ban will be enforced by the Australian Border Force, which will seize and destroy any prohibited vaping products that are detected at the border. The penalties for breaching the ban will range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.