WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT VAPING?
Vaping has exploded in popularity in the past decade, particularly among young people. After states and territories banned recreational nicotine vapes in an attempt to curb the problem, it gave rise to a black market for vapes. As the black market expanded, it offered products with unknown ingredients and increasingly dangerous levels of nicotine, posing risks to people of all ages.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced a funding and legislation package to “stamp out” vaping to control importation, contents and packaging, including a ban on recreational vaping and non-pharmaceutical vape imports.
Prohibition is not the way to end the nicotine vape black market, or to reduce the harms of vaping for young people. Even worse, because black market retailers don’t ask for ID, prohibition has made it even easier for people under 18 to access nicotine products.
There is also increasing concern about the environmental impacts of disposable vapes which contain computer circuits, hard plastics, heavy metals and lithium-ion batteries. The government can’t regulate vape producers or effectively implement product stewardship or recycling schemes for black market products.
The NSW Greens believe that vapes should be legal and regulated to end the out-of-control vaping black market. This would include sensible measures already applied to tobacco products like plain packaging, limiting vaping products to people over 18, limiting nicotine levels, requiring health warnings on packaging, and bans on advertising of vaping products. We can do this by removing nicotine for vaping from the NSW poisons schedule and legalising and regulating nicotine vaping under the NSW Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008.
But the Albanese federal government’s push for a prohibition approach to recreational vaping, which we know has failed for so many other drugs, is making this harder than it should be to achieve. You can tell federal Health Minister Mark Butler that prohibition won’t improve our health by sending him an email.
For more detail on the NSW Greens policy, click here.