- Australia is working to combat what experts call the ‘vaping epidemic’.
- Health experts warn Australian regulators not to follow the New Zealand model.
- Here’s what Australian leaders are thinking as they sit together on Friday to crack down on the issue.
Health Minister Mark Butler said a booming black market for buying e-cigarettes, colorful packaging and hard-to-enforce soft regulations were driving the e-cigarette problem “out of control”.
But as authorities consider ways to better regulate e-cigarette use, health experts urge New Zealand not to expect a model worth emulating.
How common is it to smoke e-cigarettes among young Australians?
The study, which recruited 700 participants in 2019, found that 1 in 5 quitters have tried an e-cigarette. By 2021, just under a third of people in NSW between the ages of 16 and 24 have used an e-cigarette at least once.
“What seemed like a fun, casual experience quickly became something they had to organize their lives into, and it was a very unwelcome surprise for many of them.”
What are the current regulations regarding smoking e-cigarettes in Australia?
“It sounds like it was really controlling access… unfortunately that’s not what’s happening,” she said.
Vapes come in many flavors and are often marketed to young children. credit: new york times
Convenience stores are only allowed to sell nicotine-free e-cigarettes, which Professor Freeman says is difficult to regulate.
“[Vapes are] Often marketed in pink unicorn and bubblegum flavors, these are marketed directly to children, not adults, and I am determined to eradicate them.
So what’s on the card?
Butler said a ban on imports was likely inevitable to tighten the distribution of teenage e-cigarette users.
Health Minister Mark Butler has expressed concern over e-cigarette use among Australian youth. sauce: AAP / lucas cook
“At the end of the day, the Commonwealth will have to act including borders,” he said.
“We’re going to go a really long way to prevent this e-cigarette epidemic that we have.”
Can I take lessons from New Zealand?
Corner stores and gas stations can offer a limited selection of flavors and specialties. Stores are allowed to sell a wider range.
“This is not a model that we want to import.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/as-australia-faces-a-vaping-epidemic-this-is-the-warning-from-experts/aw5gwrsxa Vaping: Leaders urged to move away from New Zealand strategy