The Coalition has backed a “common-sense” approach for a regulated, controlled vaping model in which vapes are sold like tobacco.

The Coalition’s proposal would see a strictly regulated retail model with vapes sold in the same way that tobacco sales are managed, with plain packaging, sold behind the counter, and ensuring no one under the age of 18 can legally or illegally access these products.

David Littleproud, Leader of The Nationals, said the Coalition’s strictly regulated model under the TGA will ensure there is controlled licencing to over 18s, similar to cigarettes.

“The model will stop criminals from exploiting our children and also protect our children from vapes.”

Labor’s announcement that vapes are to be sold from pharmacies without the need for a prescription, has been heavily criticised by the Coalition, as well as the Pharmacy Guild, which represents over 5,800 Australian pharmacies.

“Labor’s half-baked model will continue to expose children to organised crime and will continue to see harmful vapes across our communities,” said Littleproud.

The Pharmacy Guild is strongly opposed to Labor’s model stating that the expectation that community pharmacies become vape retailers is insulting.

“Everyone wants to keep illegal vapes out of the hands of kids and teenagers, but the Senate wants pharmacists to stock vapes next to children’s Panadol, cold and flu medicine, and emergency contraception,” said a Pharmacy Guild spokesperson.

Theo Foukkare, CEO of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), congratulated the Coalition on their policy announcement and for being honest with the Australian people in their common-sense approach.

“AACS has long advocated for a tightly regulated and strictly controlled retail licensing policy framework for vaping products that is backed by significant enforcement from the border all the way through to the illegal storefronts.

A policy with the primary objective of reducing youth access, providing regulated products to consenting adults and eliminating the black market controlled by bad actors.”

Foukkare has major concerns that the Labor model will continue to fail on delivering the desired outcomes.

“The retail channel that the government is relying on to bring their policy to life isn’t supportive, and for the pharmacists that want to sell these products, they’ll only have access to products and flavours that consumers don’t want.”

Black Market Boom

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security James Patterson said that under Labor’s watch, a war for control over the illegal tobacco and illegal vaping markets has literally exploded.

“In my home state of Victoria over the last year, more than 40 tobacconists and vape stores have been blown up as part of a war for control over the illegal tobacco and illegal vaping market.”

Patterson explained that, if the Coalition were to be elected, they would take a different approach, by committing $250 million over the next four years to the AFP and Border Force to implement a new taskforce to stamp out the black market.

“$250 million over the next four years for a taskforce that will tackle, both at the border and in the community, this serious wanton criminality we’re seeing with illegal vapes and illegal tobacco.

We are utterly committed to stamping out the black market, and only the Coalition’s approach will effectively do so.”

Theo Foukkare, CEO of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), said the $250 million for a law enforcement package, which is ten times what Labor has offered, would be greatly welcomed to address the out-of-control black market.

“The Coalition’s announcement demonstrates the strong leadership needed to fix Australia’s black market vaping crisis, in stark contrast to the dysfunctional policy development pursued by the Labor Party.”

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