The Times Australia

The Times

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Prescription-only model failing as number of e-cigarette users drastically


Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud is calling on Labor to urgently regulate and tax e-cigarettes, after new analysis revealed the number of Australians vaping has exploded.

Roy Morgan Research commissioned by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores has found 1.6 million Australians now vape each month – a 23 per cent increase since December, 2022, and a 347 per cent increase since September, 2019.

Per state, the number of vapers since 2019 has increased by 496 per cent in New South Wales, 364 per cent in Victoria, 298 per cent in Western Australia, 290 per cent in Queensland, 216 per cent in the Northern Territory, 227 per cent in Tasmania, and 150 per cent in South Australia.

Previous Roy Morgan Research also showed 92 per cent of vapers were purchasing through the black market, allowing criminals to profit.

“It is deeply concerning only eight per cent of those vaping are purchasing their product legally through the government’s prescription model,” Mr Littleproud said.

“This is a community safety issue. Mums and dads want to see access to children reduced and the black market stopped.”

The Nationals’ party room has previously supported developing a comprehensive regulatory model for e-cigarettes.

“The prescription-only model is not working and it’s time to stamp out the illegal black market and move in a constructive way towards regulation to protect children.

“We need a common sense framework that uses regulatory models that have worked in protecting our children. The regulatory framework introduced for cigarettes shows what can be done, with an almost 80 per cent reduction in juvenile use, since 2001.

“Licencing retailers for e-cigarettes, selling only to age 18 and above, removing flavours that are deemed attractive to children, while also ensuring harsh penalties for those illegally selling products, should be trialled, because prohibition isn’t working. 

“The Nationals will also push for revenue from the regulation of e-cigarettes to be directed to funding additional health services and medical practitioners, particularly in regional, rural and remote Australia.”
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