Australia will crack down on recreational vape sales in a bid to reduce teen use : NPR

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Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler addresses the media at Parliament House on March 30 in Canberra, Australia.

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Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler addresses the media at Parliament House on March 30 in Canberra, Australia.

Martin Ollman/Getty Images

The Australian government will crack down on the sale of recreational vape and enforce a requirement that products such as electronic cigarettes are only sold in pharmacies with a prescription.

Mark Butler, the Australian health minister, said on Tuesday that vaping had been advertised to the public as a therapeutic product intended to help smokers quit but instead spawned a new generation of nicotine users, particularly young people. .

“It’s not sold as a recreational product and, in particular, not one for our children. But that’s what it’s become – the biggest gap, I think, in the history of Australian health care,” Butler said in speech to the National Press Club of Australia.

“We have been deceived,” he added.

Vapes are legal only by prescription in Australia, but Butler said an “unregulated essentially illegal” black market has flourished in convenience stores, tobacconists and vape shops across the country.

“The so-called prescription model with almost no prescriptions, a ban without real enforcement, an addictive product without support to quit,” he said.

The government will increase efforts to block the importation of any vaping product not intended for pharmacies and will stop the sale of vapes in retail stores.

Vapes will also be required to have packaging consistent with pharmaceutical products. “No more bubble gum flavors, no more pink unicorns, no more vapes deliberately disguised as highlighter pens for kids so they can hide them in their pencil cases,” Butler added.

Australia will ban single-use vapes, and will also allow all doctors to write prescriptions for vaping products. Currently, only one in 20 Australian doctors is authorized to do this.

Butler said of the government next budget proposal would include $737 million Australian dollars ($492 million) to fund various efforts targeting vaping and tobacco use, including a lung cancer screening program and a national public information campaign encouraging -users stop.

One in six Australians aged 14 to 17 and a quarter of those aged 18 to 24 have picked up, according to Butler, and the only group to see the rate of – their smoking increases in the country are those under 25 years old.

the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and the Public Health Association of Australia praised the new anti-vaping measures.

“The widespread and aggressive marketing of vaping products, particularly to children, is a worldwide scourge,” said PHAA CEO Terry Slevin.

“For smokers who are legitimately trying to quit using vapes, the prescription model pathway is and should be in place,” Slevin added. “But this should not be at the cost of creating a new generation of nicotine addicts among children and young people.”

The government has not specified when the new efforts will begin.

According to the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, dozens of other countries also ban the retail sale of electronic cigarettesincluding Brazil, India, Japan and Thailand.

The sale of vaping products in retail stores is legal and regulated in the United States, which has also seen an increase in vaping rates among teenagers.

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