Australia’s booming nicotine vape black market will continue to grow at alarming rates if the Federal Government does not take urgent regulatory action now, the Australian Association of Convenience (AACS) Stores has warned in its submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA),
“The current policy of prohibition has turned everyday adults into common criminals as they turn to the black market to access nicotine vapes to try and give up smoking.” AACS CEO Theo Foukkare said.
Australia is one of the only first-world countries to ban the sale of nicotine vapes, without a prescription.
“We’ve heard time and time again from people who can’t find a prescribing GP – and even if they do, they’re mostly unable to get their prescription filled because hardly any chemists stock them for a proven adult smoking cessation tool. Our research shows that only 10% of adult consumers are using the TGA model as intended” Mr Foukkare said.
“The black market here is booming because the more than 1.2 million Aussie adults who choose to vape can only buy unregulated, often dangerous products online because the government refuses to address the situation responsibly” Mr Foukkare said.
Submissions to the TGA on possible changes to the way nicotine vapes are accessed closed today, with AACS among many organisations and individuals that have called for the Federal Government to legalise the responsible sale of highly regulated vape products as a smoking cessation product.
“Our members are trusted to sell tobacco products responsibly to adults and they are also able to sell quit-smoking aids like nicotine inhalers, patches and gum,” Mr Foukkare said.
“If our members were able to sell identifiable, properly regulated nicotine vapes to adults, where ingredients must be stipulated, flavouring and packaging regulations complied with – just as they are with tobacco – we’d be able to stave off the black market.
“That would go a long way to stopping these predators from targeting our kids with vapes that contain unknown ingredients,” Mr Foukkare said.
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have recently legalised the sale of nicotine vapes to adults, with product manufacturers and retailers made to comply with strict regulations and standards.
“Those countries have seen a huge decline in tobacco smoking and the vape black market in those countries has shrunk considerably,” Mr Foukkare said.
“It’s time for Australia officials to reflect on how we got to this position, remove prohibition which has historically never worked with any product, and take control of this issue in a responsible manner now,” he said.
To view the AACS TGA Submission, refer this link.
Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133
Media contact – Rhett Burnie – 0411 830 126
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