- E-CIGARETTE BAN FAILING AS CONSUMER DEMAND SURGES WITH 1.1 MILLION AUSTRALIANS CHOOSING TO VAPE
- 260% RISE IN FIVE YEARS; TREND ACCELERATING SINCE BAN ON NICOTINE VAPE SALES
- CALL FOR URGENT REGULATION OF VAPE SALES TO TACKLE THE UNREGULATED BLACK MARKET
More than 1.1 million Australian adults are now choosing to vape, with nearly half a million vapers in NSW alone.
And despite repeated warnings from anti-vaping advertising campaigns and a nationwide ban on sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, the adult consumer demand for vaping is not slowing down – in fact, it is accelerating.
The staggering data is contained in Roy Morgan survey data released by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores and has triggered calls for an urgent National Policy Summit to combat the out-of-control unregulated vaping black market.
“Australia’s vaping policy has clearly failed,” said Australian Association of Convenience Stores chief executive Theo Foukkare.
“The demand for e-cigarettes from adult smokers is overwhelming, yet current policy settings are forcing vapers to purchase unregulated products with no quality controls from the black market.”
The Roy Morgan data, based on monthly nationwide surveys of 4500 adults collected in the Single Source survey, also shows:
- New South Wales (including the ACT) has seen growth in adult vaping of nearly 600% since the 12 months to June 2018
- Queensland has had an increase in adult vaping of more than 200% since the 12 months to June 2018
- Victoria has seen an increase in vaping of more than 190% since the 12 months to June 2018
“Vaping has been driven underground, creating a vast black market with unregulated products that has no hesitation selling to children,” said Mr Foukkare.
“The Albanese Government must step in, fix the former Health Minister’s regulatory failure, and bring Australia in line with other OECD nations by allowing the sale of regulated nicotine vaping products with electrical safety and ingredient standards to adults upon age identification by responsible retailers.
“The previous Government’s prohibitionist approach to e-cigarettes – where adult vapers need a prescription to purchase from a pharmacy – has created one of the largest unregulated black markets ever seen in this nation.”
“Former Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt justified the introduction of the current prescription model as a way to reduce the risk of access for teenagers – as the black market runs rampant with no restrictions on youth access this justification has proven to be completely groundless.”
Since the introduction of the prescription model on 1 October 2021, the unregulated illicit black market for e-cigarettes has boomed with widespread reporting of black-market operators profiteering from the sale of illicit e-cigarettes to children.
The Roy Morgan data indicates around 100,000 more Australians were vaping in the 12 months to June this year than in the 12 months to March this year.
Recent research from Convenience Measures Australia commissioned by AACS showed that 88% of all e-cigarettes are being purchased on the black market without the legally required medical prescription.
“Australia is now one of the only developed countries in the world that does not allow the regulated sale of e-cigarettes through responsible retailers with product standards and mandatory age verification measures,” said Mr Foukkare.
“This isn’t an issue that will go away. It’s going to continue to grow. Australia’s parents and teachers are on the front line.
“Without an alternative, Australian adults will continue to pay the price and risk their own health by being able to buy unregulated products – as no standards exist in the manufacture or supply of vapes.
AACS recently communicated these concerns with both the Federal Minister for Health and the state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers.
“We have called upon the Albanese Government to convene an urgent National Policy Summit on vaping to identify and implement measures to combat the black market for vapes,” said Mr Foukkare.
“The Australian Government must follow the lead of New Zealand, the European Union and the United Kingdom by making e-cigarettes a regulated and controlled adult consumer product sold by responsible retailers.
“Convenience stores have been relied upon for decades to sell highly regulated tobacco and petroleum products, so give us the opportunity to help regulate this product too.”
A national policy summit on vaping is needed to:
- design cost-effective enforcement measures
- abolish the prescription scheme which is ignored by consumers
- identify ways to disrupt the criminal syndicates that are driving black market trade
- implement a national licensing scheme for all retailer sellers of vaping products, underpinned by a national product accountability tracking scheme
- limit sales of nicotine vaping products to licensed, responsible retailers.
“It is clear Australian smokers are increasingly demanding a less harmful alternative to tobacco products and are willing to risk substantial fines and possible prison time to illegally buy these products from the black market,” Mr Foukkare said.
Theo Foukkare is available for interview: 0423 003 133
Subscribe to our free mailing list and always be the first to receive the latest news and updates.