Questions have been raised over how effective the Federal Government’s latest plan to tackle the youth vaping crisis will be, especially when it comes to stamping out the nicotine vape black market.

Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare labelled today’s announcement a ‘rebadging’ of current failed policy.

“Any move to address youth vaping is a positive thing, however our members fear this is simply not going to work because it’s just rebadging current policy framework that even Health Minister Mark Butler has admitted is a failure,” ACCS CEO Theo Foukkare said. 

“It’s all well and good to say, ‘we’re going to crack down at the border’ and ‘we’ll work all those details out at another time’, but I don’t think people understand how difficult that actually is and how costly that is.  “If it was easy and affordable, of course that would be the solution, but it is not.

“I’ve spoken to numerous people in law enforcement about this and they all point to the futility of this because Border Force simply cannot search every single cargo container coming into this country.

“If that were the case we wouldn’t have this problem now,” he said.

Mr Foukkare said AACS’ members believe the only way to successfully tackle the youth vaping crisis is to treat the sale of vapes the same way tobacco is treated.

“You have to stop the illegal supply chain by legitimising the existing demand,” he said. “To think that you can simply prohibit something that is as mainstream in adults as this is, is incredibly ambitious and in our view, doomed to fail.”

Mr Foukkare also questioned what a reported plan to bring in “vape police” would look like and who officers would target.

“I read yesterday that we could see Vape Police out and about and I’m keen to know the details of this because if that’s catching criminals selling vapes, that’s a good thing.  “But if that means everyday people who are vaping in the street are going to be spot checked for a prescription and then fined for or, even worse, arrested if they don’t have a prescription, I think we need to have a serious look at where we’re headed as a country.

“Is this really what’s being proposed here?” “From what I can tell, the Government is basically spending $200 million plus dollars of taxpayer money to say to people ‘just don’t do’, it and that’s it.”

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