Record haul blows hole in illegal vape supply

Child vaping in playground. | Newsreel
New import regulations are reducing the availability of unlawful vapes. | Photo: Daisy Daisy (iStock)

The crackdown on illegal vapes is gathering speed with a recent operation seizing almost half a million, the largest haul since new regulations came into effect in January.

In the joint operation, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Victoria Police identified and detained nearly 500,000 unlawful vapes, with an estimated value of more than $15 million.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said since new vape import regulations took effect on January 1, the Australian Border Force (ABF) had stopped hundreds of thousands of illegal disposable vapes and vape products from entering the community.

Minister Butler said the ABF had been working proactively with officials in several countries to prevent the export of vapes to Australia, where it was permissible under the domestic laws of that country.

“The ABF has detected more than 4603 consignments and seized more than 611,00 vape products already,” he said.

The latest seizure comes as Health Ministers from around Australia urged the passage of the next round of vaping reforms, currently before Federal Parliament.

The legislation regulates vaping products as a therapeutic good, banning the importation, manufacture, supply, commercial possession and advertisement of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes.

Vapes containing nicotine can continue to be prescribed as an aid in smoking cessation or the management of nicotine dependence, where clinically appropriate.

Minister Butler said the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill specifically targeted commercial and criminal actors involved in the illicit supply of vapes.

“It includes a ban on advertising, including on social media where vaping goods are targeted at children and young people,” he said.

“Combating vaping is a complex problem which is being fought across many fronts. Multiple Commonwealth, state and territory agencies are working together to take vapes out of the hands of Australian kids.”