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Starting January 2024, Australia will outlaw importation of disposable vapes as measures aimed at reducing kid’s addiction to nicotine.
The country is also set to unveil new legislation that bars manufacture, advertising, or supply of single use vape devices.
This comes with the wider plan for complete discontinuation of recreational vaping entirely.
Tobacco companies have promoted vaping as cessation tool but Australian health minister has termed such approach as creating a new chain of nicotine addiction.
Electronic cigarettes – also known as vapes – are the ones that contain lithium batteries and contain cartridge with liquid containing different substances like nicotine, artificial flavors and others.
For the last two years in Australia, it is illegal for anyone to purchase or export e-cigarettes and nicotine vapes unless they are prescribed by a doctor. However, these strict laws failed in limiting teen tobacco use because its addiction rates continue to soar.
A recent study by the University of Sydney indicated that almost one fifth of adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years have smoked e-vapour over the last twelve months, while another survey by the cancer council Australia revealed that nine out ten teenagers of the same age
According to Mr Mark Butler, Australia’s federal health minister, who is leading the ban says “All Australian governments are committed to work together in stopping their disturbingly rapid growth of vaping among our youth”.
The Australian government announced in March that there will be an end to the use of singular-use vapes but has been reluctant until now to provide a timeframe for that action.
Mr Butler affirms that the restrictions on importation of disposable vapes will start being applied from 1st Jan. While the import ban of refillable vapes should be introduced by March.
The government restrictions on the importation of vape products will also be adopted in local vaping companies.
Experts have warned that the long-term effects of vaping are not well understood.
Johns Hopkins University research has connected the practice to chronic lung illness and asthma.
In Australia, scientists who researched the liquids used in vapes warned that they include “a suite of chemicals” known to have an influence on lung health.
Australia’s declaration comes only days after the government of New Zealand abolished its world-leading smoking ban to fund tax cuts.
Why Australia decided to quit Disposable Vapes
The Australian government’s move follows multiplicity considerations arising from public health safety and protecting the youth from the vice. Here’s a breakdown of the key reasons behind this decision:
Health Risks of Nicotine and Harmful Chemicals: They usually contain much nicotine which is harmful even to a developing brain and may lead to addiction in adolescence. The other issue with disposable vapes is that they can have harmful chemicals and heavy metals within them that are unhealthy for users.
Protecting Youth and Reducing Initiation into Vaping: Young people are now using disposable vapes after they realized that these vapes look cool. It aims at protecting youth against developing addiction to nicotine and possible long terms effect of vaping.
Regulatory Challenges and Lack of Standards: Consumers are at a disadvantage because disposable vapes do not have proper labeling of what they contain. The ban seeks to rein in a relatively unregulated vape industry so that consumers are assured of products quality and integrity.
Addressing Rising Popularity and Potential for Gateway Effect: Increasing usage in disposables led young people into smoking resulting in the fear of gateway phenomenon. This ban seeks to discourage young people from living on junk food and lead a more healthy life.
Consistency with Tobacco Control Efforts: Australia has maintained a tough stance on tobacco control for many years, and the ban on the disposable vapes is in line with efforts to reduce total tobacco use and its attendant health hazards.
Protecting Public Health and Reducing Healthcare Costs: Although the long term effects of vaping remain largely unknown, research indicates that vaping can cause respiratory diseases, heart complications, etc., and may also develop into cancer. This is intended to ease pressure on the healthcare system, promote better health among people.
Sending a Strong Message and Setting an Example: The ban on disposable vapes in Australia represents a powerful statement on the safety of the population and the welfare of the nation’s youth. Additionally, it acts a model to guide other nations planning to introduce regulations on vaping products.
These are lithium-powered devices called vaporizers or vapes which contain cartridges bearing these fluids made of nicotine with synthetic flavors and additional compounds.
Liquid is heated until it becomes a vapor is inhaled into the users’ lungs.
In 2021, there were approximately eighty one million individuals who were vaping across the globe as per the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction team.
The popularity of flavored vapes aimed at teens drive up demand.
Such products usually contain huge amounts of the said substance compared to normal cigarettes, and some are even marketed as ‘nicotine free’ though may contain large quantities within them.
Other forms of disposable vapes include formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, some of which can lead to lung disease, heart disease, or even cancer.
According to some findings from Johns Hopkins University, this might be linked to chronic lung disease and even asthma. Further study was done by the American Stroke Association, who identified this as a potential risk factor for stroke (2019). Experts caution that too little is understood about potential chronic implications.
In 2020, US fitness authorities diagnosed greater than 2,800 cases and 68 deaths linked to vaping-associated lung injury.
Subsequent research discovered those were likely as a result of illegal vapes containing THC, the psychoactive aspect of hashish, but did no longer rule out a link with other chemical compounds.
In Australia, a major study by means of leading charity The Cancer Council located greater than half of all children who had ever vaped had used an e-cigarette they knew contained nicotine and concept that vaping changed into a socially suited behaviour.
School-age kids were being supplied with e-cigarettes through buddies or “sellers” inside and outside faculty, or from convenience stores and tobacconists, the record said.
Teens also reported buying vapes thru social media, web sites and at pop-up vape shops, the Generation Vape challenge found.
“Whichever way teenagers obtain e-cigarettes, they may be all illegal, yet it is occurring below the noses of federal and kingdom authorities”, record writer and Cancer Council chair Anita Dessaix stated.
“All Australian governments say they are committed to making sure e-cigarettes are best accessed via smokers with a prescription seeking to quit – but a crisis in youth e-cigarette use is unfolding in plain view.”
In addition to the government’s move to ban the import of all non-pharmaceutical vaping products – meaning they can now most effective be sold with a prescription – all single-use disposable vapes could be made unlawful.
The volume and attention of nicotine in e-cigarettes may also be restricted, and each flavours and packaging should be plain and carrying caution labels.
But these new measures aren’t certainly all that drastic, says public fitness medical doctor Professor Emily Banks from the Australian National University.
“Australia is not an anomaly. It is unique to have a prescription-only regime, while other countries, including practically all of Latin America, India, Thailand, and Japan, altogether prohibit them.”