29 September 2023

NSW Government to crack down on the sale of illegal vapes

| Jarryd Rowley
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NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park and NSW Premier Chris Minns

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park and NSW Premier Chris Minns have promised to spend $6.8 million to combat illegal vapes. Photo: Ryan Park/Facebook.

The NSW Government will invest $6.8 million across the next three years in an attempt to limit the sale of illegal vapes and help support addicted teenagers.

About $4.8 million over the three-year period will go towards cracking down on compliance and enforcement of the manufacturing and selling of vapes to ensure the state is meeting retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical legal requirements.

The remaining $2.5 million will be used over the next 12 months to increase the available support services for young people looking to quit vaping. This includes a new digital platform, enhancements to the ICanQuit platform and an online learning module for youth services.

Research from NSW Health has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes or vapes are more than three times more likely to go on to smoke tobacco cigarettes than those who do not.

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The research also showed that nicotine affects brain development in young people, impeding learning and memory as well as worsening many stress, depression and anxiety symptoms.

From 1 January 2023, more than 369,000 nicotine vapes and e-liquids have been seized at a value of more than $11.8 million. Several retailers around the state have been prosecuted for the illegal sale of nicotine vapes.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the NSW Labour Government was committed to taking the fight against illegal vapes, particularly to protect children and young people from the dangers of vaping.

“The evidence suggests that vaping is now becoming a gateway for an increase in smoking rates in young people,” he said.

“This is a significant public health challenge and taking action on the illegal imports of vapes is going to require cooperation with all levels of government.”

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park said the Minns Labour Government was putting resources behind efforts to ramp up vaping enforcement to meet the increasing pervasiveness of illegal products.

“Tough action is needed to stop the illegal sale of vapes containing nicotine and to prevent vapes from finding their way into the hands of minors,” he said.

“As the evidence around just how damaging vaping is mounts and the number of young people who vape increases, we need to put everything into the fight against it.

“Vapes contain dangerous chemicals which can seriously impact a person’s health, with young people especially vulnerable.

“Many of the chemicals, including flavours, have not been tested for safety when inhaled into the lungs. I urge the community to support the efforts of NSW Health by reporting those retailers who are doing the wrong thing.”

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NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the University of Wollongong’s research showed there was no such thing as a safe vape as people just didn’t know what was in them.

“This is especially true for children who are increasingly being exposed to high concentrations of nicotine and in some cases known toxic substances,” she said.

“As more vapes become available, we are seeing more people seeking help from health services for vaping-related health issues.

“The number of vaping-related calls to the NSW Poison Information Centre has tripled since 2020. What is most concerning is 71 per cent of these calls were about nicotine poisonings in children under four years of age.”

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