Australia is set to ban the import of disposable vapes starting in January, with the aim of curbing nicotine addiction among children.
The country will also introduce new legislation to prevent the production, advertising, and distribution of single-use vapes. This initiative is part of a larger effort to eliminate recreational vaping.
The Australian health minister notes that while vaping is promoted as a smoking cessation tool, it has instead led to a “new generation of nicotine dependency”.
Disposable vapes, or e-cigarettes, are powered by lithium batteries and contain cartridges with nicotine, artificial flavours, and various chemicals.
Since 2021, Australian law has required a doctor’s prescription to buy or import e-cigarettes or nicotine vapes, yet addiction rates have soared.
A University of Sydney study revealed that over 25% of teens aged 14-17 have tried vaping. The Cancer Council Australia found that 90% of teens in this age range easily access nicotine vapes.
Mark Butler, the federal health minister, emphasized the unified commitment of Australian governments to address the alarming rise in youth vaping.
In May, the Australian government announced plans to phase out single-use vapes but had not provided a specific timeline.
According to Mr. Butler, the ban on importing disposable vapes will commence on January 1, followed by a ban on refillable non-therapeutic vapes by March.
Importers and producers of therapeutic vapes will face stricter regulations on flavours, nicotine content, and packaging.
Experts caution that the long-term effects of vaping are still largely unknown. Johns Hopkins University research associates vaping with chronic lung diseases and asthma.
Australian scientists have raised concerns about the harmful chemicals in vape liquids affecting lung health.
This announcement from Australia follows closely on the heels of New Zealand’s decision to abandon its pioneering smoking ban in favour of tax cuts.