Stronger measures proposed to tackle youth vaping

The Government is seeking feedback on measures to help reduce the number of young people vaping.

“Youth vaping is becoming increasingly popular, with many choosing to vape despite never having smoked,” Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“Alongside our efforts to reduce tobacco smoking, we want to ensure vaping products are safe, regulated and are only being used for cessation purposes as intended.”

The Government is asking for community feedback on several proposals:

“The first proposal is to introduce proximity restrictions for all new specialist vape retailers, for instance to that they are not near schools and sports grounds.

These restrictions would not apply to general vape retailers such as dairies and petrol stations, which are already limited to the sale of three vape flavours. 

Secondly vaping flavour names could potentially be restricted to reduce the attraction of vaping products to young people.

“We are proposing vaping liquids and vape product packaging will be limited to a description of the product’s flavour and this complies with permitted flavour descriptions.

For example flavour names such as ‘cotton candy’ and ‘gummy bears’ may no longer be allowed, with a generic term ‘candy’ having to be used instead.

“Thirdly we’d also look to restrict single-use vaping products, which are cheaper and more easily accessible. It would mean all vaping products for sale would need to have removable/replaceable batteries, child safety mechanisms and substance container labelling.

“The maximum concentration of nicotine salts allowed in single-use products like disposable vapes would also be reduced from 50mg/mL to 35mg/mL and serial or batch numbers will be required to ensure they can be traced if there are safety concerns.

“Disposable vapes are an easy gateway product to vaping and internationally there has been a dramatic increase in younger people using them. A recent study found 86% of 14-17 years old from New South Wales had tried disposable vapes.  

“Clearly we have seen a rise in young people taking up vaping, these additional measures will work to protect youth from the appeal and attractiveness of vaping.

“Vaping has a role to play in ensuring smokers who wish to quit smoking can do so using vaping products. However youth vaping rates are too high and we need to strike a better balance.” says Dr Verrall.

A consultation document titled Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime, which also seeks feedback on proposals to implement significant reductions to the retail availability, appeal and addictiveness of smoked tobacco products, is available on the Ministry of Health website. Submissions close 5.00 pm, 15 March 2023.