Australia to ban disposable vapes from January

"We're taking tough action because this is a major public health issue."
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The Federal Government has announced further crackdowns on vapes in Australia as part of its ongoing effort to decrease the portion of the population, particuarly youth, who are addicted to the fruity-flavoured nicotine sticks. 

Specifically, from January 1st, 2024, single-use vapes will be illegal to import into Australia, dramatically reducing access for frequent users who previously were able to purchase their vapes at service stations, specialty stores, and more. 

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When discussing the world first decision to ban the importation of single-use vapes into Australia, Health Minister Mark Butler said it was a no-brainer. 

“Vaping is creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community. It poses a major threat to Australia’s success in tobacco control.”

“[It] was sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit,” the Minister added. 

“It was not sold as a recreational product – especially not one targeted to our kids but that is what it has become. We’re taking tough action because this is a major public health issue.”

“Vaping is a gateway to smoking and smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia.”

The ban on single use vape importation in Australia is a world first. (Credit: Getty)

Is vaping now illegal in Australia? 

Yes and no. 

From January 1st, it will become illegal for single-use vapes to be imported into Australia both for personal and commercial use. 

General health practitioners however will be able to prescribe a nicotine vape (where appropriate) to assist patients trying to quit smoking as part of a new Special Access Scheme.  

On a case-by-case basis, the scheme will assess an individual’s need for a vape in certain circumstances.

From January 1st, 2021 vapes will only be available to be obtained through a health professional. (Credit: Getty)

Then from March 1st, additional reforms will be implemented, including the banning of the personal importation of refillable vape kits and a ban on the import of ALL non-therapeutic vapes. 

In the next 12 months, the government also hopes to limit the number of vape flavours (which are often sweet and fruity) available to purchase on the Australian market and reduce the concentration of the nicotine.  

Remaining legal vapes in Australia will also be repackaged with pharmaceutical packaging, in an effort to decrease their appeal to previous and potential future users. 

“The government is alive to the implementation obstacles, like all other illegal drugs, there will no doubt be some vapes that get into the country but they will no longer be easy for school children, our most vulnerable and impressionable members of society, to get their hands of them,” Minister Butler also said. 

Gone are the days of colourful vape packaging. (Credit: Getty)

What happens if you get caught with a vape in Australia? 

From January 1st, you can be fined for acquiring, using, and/or possessing liquid notice unless it has been prescribed by your doctor. 

Depending on your state, you could face fines upwards of $10,00 or even up to two years in prison. 

To stay up to date with individual state and territory laws, please seek advice from a health professional and visit the following online resources: 

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