Tighter regulations on the importation and sale of vapes came into effect today.

New restrictions come into effect from today (01 January 2024) partly in response to concerns about the sale of vaping products to school-aged children. Although the sale of vaping products to children was already illegal, the importation of certain types of vaping products that proved popular with under-18s was not illegal until today.

Disposable vapes, particularly those with ‘fruity’ flavours had become popular with children, and an alarming number had been found to also contain the addictive substance nicotine.

NSW Government crack down on sale of illegal vapes

Last September, the NSW Government announced a crackdown on the illegal sale of vaping products, but it did not have the authority to control importation of the products. As the regulator of import controls, the Australian Government through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has now banned the importation of disposable vapes.

Vaping products may continue to be sold under strict controls. After a short grace period for products imported before today to be sold, all vaping products will only be available as part of a medically supervised therapy to stop smoking.

All vapes containing nicotine will only be available by prescription from a pharmacy, and the flavours that may be sold are limited to mint, menthol or tobacco. The display, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes will be prohibited, and from 01 March 2024, it will become illegal to order vaping products overseas to be imported for personal use.

Member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps

Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps (image above) welcomed the decision by Federal Health Minister Mark Butler to ban the importation of single use vapes.

“It is great news that from Jan 1 [01 January 2024] nicotine-laced e-cigarettes can no longer be sold legally to our children. This is something I have been advocating for since I was elected.

“So called ‘convenience stores’ selling snacks and vapes have popped up in several locations around Mackellar and parents are very upset as the stores are typically located close to schools and bus stops used by school kids.

“This is not without motive. Big tobacco knows that children who use vapes are three times more likely to take up tobacco smoking. Vapes are a gateway drug to smoking. From my perspective as a doctor, I welcome Minister Butler’s strong action on this,” said Dr Scamps.

The chemical ingredients of disposable vapes were leading experts to raise concerns about the addictive and cancer causing effects on children, who were attracted to ‘sweet’ flavoured vapes. The new restrictions will make it significantly more difficult for vendors to legally import products that end up being illegally sold to children.

While vaping products will not be completely banned, their intended use will be limited to those with a therapeutic reason, such as quitting smoking, under medical supervision.

NSW Government crack down on sale of illegal vapes

Members of the public who believe a retailer may be selling illegal vape products can report compliance concerns to NSW Health.

Anyone who needs support to quit smoking or vaping can contact the NSW Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT), a confidential telephone information and counselling service that is managed by Cancer Institute NSW.

Images: NSW Government, Northern Beaches Advocate

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