Australia is set to implement the largest tobacco crackdown in over a decade by banning e-cigarettes, according to a recent announcement. Along with recreational vaping, the country will also tighten e-cigarette laws. The Australian government aims to ban the import and use of disposable and non-prescriptive vapes and limit nicotine levels in an effort to restrict the sale of vapes to those who are quitting smoking. Minimum quality standards will also be put into effect, which will restrict flavours, colours, and other ingredients. As a result, vape products will require pharmaceutical-like packaging, and allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes will be reduced, with all single-use disposable vapes being banned.

E-cigarettes, also known as vape pens, use a battery to heat a special liquid made of water, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Nicotine, and flavourings. This is heated into an aerosol that users inhale. According to Australia’s Health Minister Mark Butler, the tobacco industry is attempting to produce a ‘new wave of nicotine addicts’, and he is prepared to put an end to it.

This ruling was reached after an evaluation of submissions from health professional bodies, public health associations, individual health professionals, and university researchers as part of the inquiry into vaping reforms led by the drugs regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). All parties involved expressed overwhelming support for tightening border controls. Numerous public health experts and bodies suggest that border controls should be placed on non-nicotine vaping products to prevent mislabelling and exploitation of import loopholes. This is to address the deceptive process of falsely labelling nicotine-containing products as ‘nicotine-free’ to manoeuvre past import restrictions, allowing children to gain easy access to vapes, inadvertently inhaling nicotine and becoming addicted to the highly addictive chemical compound.

The Australian government will also work with states and territories to end vape sales in retail stores, with smokers who are trying to quit tobacco having easy access to nicotine prescriptions. However, stronger standards will be placed around vaping products available for purchase in pharmacies.