As of October 2021, vapers in Australia are only able to purchase vaping products from pharmacies via prescription, and anyone caught violating these harsh regulations will face steep fines, and in some cases even imprisonment.

Experts believe that the prescription model introduced in Australia does not work as it makes the products difficult to access, creating a higher demand and subsequent growth in the black market.
Together with other experts, Australian tobacco harm reduction expert Dr. Colin Mendelsohn had explained that the prescription model introduced in Australia does not work as it makes the products difficult to access, creating a higher demand and subsequent growth in the black market.

“The government’s set up this complex system which just isn’t working; to find a GP who will prescribe and then to find a pharmacy that will sell it – it’s just not a workable solution,” he said. “So people are going to the black market to buy unregulated products and the black market is thriving and selling these products to kids.”

In a letter dated Wednesday July 20th, vaping activists from around the world called on Australia’s Ministry of Health, urging it to cease the ongoing attacks against the local vape industry. This action came in response to a note received by vape shop owners across Western Australia from the WA health department, asking them to cease operations within 14 days.

Ongoing actions by local authorities will result in a public health disaster

Seventeen vaping consumer organisations worldwide signed the letter in support of the WA vapers, with director of the global vaping advocacy group World Vapers’ Alliance Michael Landl reiterating how such actions will result in a public health disaster.

“Vaping has been a lifeline for more than 80 million people who struggled to quit smoking. It’s the most successful smoking cessation tool so far and has been acknowledged so in the UK, France, and New Zealand, to name a few. Closing down vape shops will not only lead vapers to the black market in search of their preferred products but also prevent many smokers from quitting traditional cigarettes as they will struggle to find alternatives on the market. By restricting access to harm reduction tools while keeping traditional cigarettes on the market, the WA government is opening the doors to a public health disaster,” said Landl.

Meanwhile, 32 retailers have had their vape products confiscated. “I’m very concerned that most (users) are vaping on nicotine and becoming addicted, and that we’re going to see a whole new generation of people addicted to nicotine,” said WA chief pharmacist Meeghan Clay. “People importing these products and selling them are trying to avoid detection by not having them labelled as containing nicotine. When you buy a vape, you don’t know what’s in that vape.”

Read Further: 7News

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