Misguided vaping movement will be a public health disaster


The Western Australian government is threatening to destroy the retail vape industry in Western Australia with massive fines for the sale of nicotine-free vaping products and liquids.

But they ensure that only the black market and tobacco companies will ultimately benefit.

Many adults use vaping to help them quit smoking. Credit:James Brickwood

Vape shops were notified of the crackdown by letter last month and told they could face up to $80,000 in penalties.

Current legislation in WA, the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006, prohibits the sale of devices that resemble cigarettes.

However, while there have been no recent changes to the legislation, WA Health has confirmed that penalties will now apply to all vaping-related products, including individual vaping device components, batteries and liquids without nicotine. If enforced, it would shut down vape shops statewide, leaving only the black market in operation.

The crackdown comes in response to an increase in vaping among young people. A new initiative was recently announced to educate young people about nicotine addiction and the chemicals in vaping products.

Young people need to be given accurate information to help them make informed choices. However,
this campaign, based on the NSW Health “Do you know what you’re vaping?” campaign, is alarmist, exaggerates the risks and is full of misinformation.

There is no doubt that youth vaping is on the rise. However, this increase is due almost exclusively to sales on the black market. Vaping stores do not sell these illegal products, or any products that contain nicotine.

These companies are subject to frequent inspections by the Ministry of Health and have been assured for many years that their activities are legal.


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