- 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.
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.
“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