(Featured Image provided by Martin Ollman/Getty Images)
The Australian government will ban the recreational use of e-cigarettes, reinforcing a law it has that makes them only obtainable through pharmacy prescriptions. The reason for this crackdown is due to the increasing use of e-cigs among Australian youth.
According to the country’s health minister, Mark Butler, vaping has already become a major behavioral issue in high schools nationwide, and it’s also becoming a growing problem in elementary schools. Butler said that although vaping can be used as a therapeutic product to help long-time smokers quit, it’s instead being heavily used by younger generations.
As stated by Butler, 1 in 6 Australians aged 14 to 17, and 1 in 4 Australians aged 18 to 24, have admitted to vaping at least once. Moreover, the only age group that’s seen a significant increase in the number of active smokers is the under-25 group. He said this is because e-cigarettes are often contained in bright, colorful packages to lure in children. They also come in candy-like flavors like pineapple and bubblegum to further attract youth, because they would never want to buy plain paper cigarettes. “Have you ever tried a cigarette before? It tastes awful. Kids, they love the fruity taste (of vapes). It’s something sweet,” said Ali Ayoub, the owner of a vape shop in Brisbane.
Under Australian law, vapes can only be legally sold through prescriptions by pharmacies. Yet according to Butler, there’s a secret “unregulated” black market that sells e-cigs through convenience stores, vape shops, and tobacconists. “…that is what it’s become — the biggest loophole, I think, in Australian health care history,” stated Butler.
To combat this, the Australian government will take more measures to block the importation of vape products to any place that’s not a pharmaceutical company, as well as requiring vapes to be contained in pharmaceutical packages. “No more bubble gum flavors, no more pink unicorns, no more vapes deliberately disguised as highlighter pens for kids to be able to hide them in their pencil cases,” explained Butler.
Moreover, Australia’s already expensive tobacco tax will increase by 5% starting September 1st. Australians pay about 35 Australian dollars ($23) per cigarette box, which is significantly more than those sold in the United States or the United Kingdom.
These measures to discourage vaping among youths in Australia have gotten much praise from many Australian health organizations, like the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and the Public Health Association of Australia. “The widespread, aggressive marketing of vaping products, particularly to children, is a worldwide scourge,” said PHAA CEO Terry Slevin.
The Australian government has not yet specified when a majority of these new measures will start to take effect.
2 thoughts on “Australia to crack down on vaping among youths”
Yeah we’ve really cracked down on this in California..but I’m not sure about the whole of US – where they just let kids get mowed down by mass shootings without a 2nd thought.. though they like to ban the dumbest of things otherwise. *sigh
Very well put article about very serious youth problem around the world. Hope other countries will follow Australia example.