In response to calls for action from Australia’s lawful retail industry, the Australian Association of Convenience Stores welcomes the seizure of 376,000 illegal vapes today and continues to call on Health Minister Mark Butler to permanently fix the black market that is importing over 100 million illegal vapes into Australia each year.

AACS CEO Theo Foukkare said while today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, in practical terms, it represents lessthan two days’ supply of the 100 million illegal vapes flooding into Australia each year.

“Mark Butler announced he’d crackdown on the vaping black market 12 months ago, so seizing just two days’ supply away fromthe illegal black market in that time virtually does nothing to address Australia’s illegal vaping crisis,” Mr Foukkare said.

“Families dealing with the fallout of Australia’s black market youth vaping crisis will feel little relief from less than 0.4 per cent of the problem being addressed.

“Since the Health Minister announced he would fix this issue last November, the number of adult vapers in Australia has grown by 23 per cent to more than 1.6 million – despite the retail sale of nicotine vapes being illegal since 2021.

“This rapidly growing adult consumer demand is supporting a black market that is now importing over 100 million unregulated illegal vapes each year, with the criminals smuggling them willing to sell to anyone, including children.

“Following the comments from the Head of Australia’s Border Force earlier this year that only a quarter of illicit drugs are detected at the border, it’s clear that much more needs to be done by the Health Minister.

“Every day the Health Minister takes no action to overturn the failed prohibition prescription-only vaping policy that has been in place since 2021, more and more kids purchase unregulated and easily accessible addictive products from the black market.

“Australia doesn’t have a youth smoking or drinking crisis, because adult consumers purchase those products through a strictly controlled market – it’s no wonder RedBridge research finds nearly 90 per cent of all voters want the same framework for nicotine vapes to fix the current unregulated black market.”

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133

To view the full RedBridge research click here: https://aacs.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Research-into-attitudes-towards-nicotine-vapes-2023-09-27.pdf

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