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Australia To Ban Imports Of Single Use Vapes From January 1

“It was not sold as a recreational product, especially not one targeted to our kids, but that is what it has become.”

Australia has announced a ban on imports of single-use e-cigarettes starting next year, cracking down on the nicotine products that are popular with youth.

The government said the ban will take effect on January 1, adding that it will also introduce legislation in 2024 to ban the manufacture, advertising or supply of disposable vapes.

Australian health officials welcomed the curb on vapes, which they said had been pitched as a tool to help long-term smokers quit but evolved into a dangerous “recreational product”.

“It was not sold as a recreational product, especially not one targeted to our kids, but that is what it has become.

“The great majority of vapes contain nicotine, and children are becoming addicted.” Health Minister Mark Butler said.

The Australian Medical Association hailed the government’s “decisive action to stop vaping in its tracks”.

According to reports, about one in seven children aged 14-17 uses vapes.

The government also said there was “consistent evidence” that young Australians who vape are about three times more likely to take up tobacco smoking.

Despite the new restrictions, Australia’s government said it would introduce a scheme to enable doctors and nurses to prescribe vapes “where clinically appropriate” from January 1.

Australia has a long record of fighting smoking. In 2012, it became the first country to introduce “plain packaging” laws for cigarettes, a policy since copied by France, Britain and others.

High taxes have pushed up the price of a packet to about 50 Australian dollars (US$33).

Neighbouring New Zealand until recently stood alongside Australia at the forefront of the battle.

But its new conservative coalition government, which took power this week, has now promised to scrap a so-called “generational smoking ban” that would have stopped sales of tobacco to anyone born after 2008.

Chioma Kalu

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