Government to crack down on youth vaping

The coalition Government is taking action to tackle youth vaping, Associate Health Minister Casey Costello announced today.

“Cabinet has agreed to a complete ban on disposable vapes, significant increases in fines for sales to under-18s, further restrictions on retailers and a better enforcement system to ensure vape retailers are following the rules,” Ms Costello says.

“While vaping has contributed to a significant fall in our smoking rates, the rapid rise in youth vaping has been a real concern for parents, teachers, and health professionals.

“Reusable vapes are a key smoking cessation device and will remain available. 

“But too many teenagers continue to use disposable vapes – they’re cheap and remain too easy to get, despite changes under the previous government. That’s why these cheap, single use vape products will be banned outright.”

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act will be amended to ban the manufacture and sale of disposable vaping products, and significantly increase penalties for sales of cigarettes and vapes to minors.

“There must be clear consequences for retailers found supplying vapes, or other regulated products like cigarettes, to minors,” Ms Costello says. 

“Therefore, the maximum fine for retailers found selling vapes or other regulated products to under-18s will increase from $10,000 to $100,000. The penalty for infringement offences will rise from $500 to $1,000 for individuals and to $2,000 for businesses.”

Ms Costello says Cabinet has also agreed to introducing further requirements on specialist vape retailers, such as tighter restrictions on storefront displays and staffing requirements, with officials to conduct targeted consultation on these proposals. 

“We will also review the licensing and compliance regimes around vaping so that the higher penalties for selling to under-18s are backed by stronger enforcement.”

Cabinet reconfirmed a range of regulations set to enter force on 21 March, including a ban on vaping products with images of cartoons or toys on the packaging, and limiting flavour names to generic descriptions.

To ensure sufficient availability of appropriate reusable vaping products to continue to support people to quit smoking, requirements for reusable vapes to have removable batteries and child proofing mechanisms will be deferred until 1 October.

“The coalition Government is committed to tackling youth vaping and to continue to drive down smoking rates to achieve the Smokefree goal of less than 5 per cent of the population smoking daily by 2025. In the last three years nearly 230,000 people have quit smoking, and the percentage of the population who smoke daily has fallen from 16.4 per cent in 2012, to just 6.8 per cent last year,” Ms Costello says.