Australia to ban non-prescription vaping in e-cigarette crackdown

It is the country's strongest measures against the tobacco industry in more than a decade

Vaping is widely regarded as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but Australian government ministers disagree. Pawan Singh / The National
Powered by automated translation

Australia announced a campaign against vaping on Tuesday as it accused tobacco companies of hooking the next “generation of nicotine addicts” by advertising to teenagers.

The government said will take steps to ban all disposable vapes, restricting flavours and colours and reducing allowed nicotine levels.

It is the country's strongest measures against tobacco and nicotine in more than a decade.

People will be allowed to use vapes with a prescription to help them stop cigarettes.

“Just like they did with smoking, Big Tobacco has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts,” Health Minister Mark Butler said.

Under the new rules, vapes must have pharmaceutical-type packaging.

Vaping involves heating a liquid containing nicotine in an e-cigarette and turning it into a vapour that users inhale.

It is widely seen as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes and a product to help smokers quit.

But the product has become a recreational one, mostly sold to teenagers and young people, Mr Butler said.

“This is a product targeted at our kids, sold alongside lollies and chocolate bars,” he said.

“Vaping has become the number one behavioural issue in high schools. And it's becoming widespread in primary schools.”

The federal budget, scheduled for next week, will include A$234 million ($155 million) to fund the new measures to protect against the harm caused by tobacco and vaping products.

Australia has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world after 2012 when it forced producers to sell their cigarettes in drab packets with no adornments.

Tobacco companies switched to e-cigarettes that offer different flavours and created designs to draw in another generation of users.

Updated: May 02, 2023, 4:11 AM