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New Australian law on vape sales infuriates pharmacists

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Pharmacists fear this move will ultimately turn their premises into modern-day tobacconists 

UK Vaping Law :

Recently, Australia introduced a new law that restricts the sale of all types of vapes exclusively to pharmacies, as part of an effort to eliminate recreational vaping nationwide.

Controversially, pharmacies will soon be permitted to sell nicotine vapes without requiring a prescription under this law.

Although this initiative aims to improve national health, it has angered pharmacists, who fear it will ultimately turn their premises into modern-day tobacconists.

“This is just going to create more hassle for me,” a senior pharmacist told The Times.

In response to mounting concerns about a new generation becoming addicted to nicotine, the Labor government last Monday implemented a ban on the sale of all vapes, whether they contain nicotine or not, outside of pharmacies.

Australia has become the first country in the world to enact such a measure.

It is now illegal to domestically manufacture, supply, or commercially possess non-therapeutic and disposable vapes, with jail sentences of up to seven years and fines up to A$2.2 million (£1.16 million) for individuals, and A$22 million (£11.6 million) for businesses.

Vapes must now be sold in plain packaging, a regulation Australia first introduced over a decade ago for cigarettes.

Additionally, vapes are restricted to three flavours—tobacco, menthol, and mint—in an effort to eliminate overly sweet flavours like bubblegum and candy floss that tend to attract teenagers.

Furthermore, the nicotine concentration in vapes sold in pharmacies without a prescription will be limited to 20mg per ml — less than half the nicotine content found in many vapes sold on the black market.

Australia has implemented some of the world’s strictest vaping laws. Since October 2021, it has been illegal to smoke e-cigarettes containing nicotine without a prescription, and in January, the import of disposable vapes was prohibited.

Despite these measures, vaping rates have surged among younger people and children, with cheap vapes being openly sold in corner shops, petrol stations, online, and even infiltrating school playgrounds.

The latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed that the percentage of 14 to 17-year-olds who have tried e-cigarettes has nearly tripled from 9.6 per cent in 2019 to 28 per cent in 2022-23.

With e-cigarettes infiltrating school playgrounds, the percentage of 14 to 17-year-olds who have tried them has nearly tripled from 9.6 per cent in 2019 to 28 per cent in 2022-23, according to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

The UK is currently deliberating on legislation concerning the supply of tobacco, vapes, and related products.

If approved, the Tobacco and Vapes Bill will ban the sale of tobacco to children under 15, in line with former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to achieve a smoke-free generation.

Introduced to the UK Parliament on March 20, the bill will also grant new powers to restrict vape flavours and packaging targeted at children, as well as relocate them out of sight and away from products appealing to youth, such as sweets.

Furthermore, enforcement officers will gain enhanced powers, including issuing on-the-spot fines of £100 to ensure compliance with the new laws, in addition to the existing maximum fine of £2,500 that local authorities can impose. Providing free samples of vapes to children under 18 will also become illegal.

Smoking, recognized as the UK’s largest preventable cause of death, is estimated to cost the NHS and economy £17 billion annually.

Separately, under environmental legislation, the sale and supply of disposable vapes will be prohibited in England starting April 2025.

Official figures revealed that the number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years, with nine per cent of 11 – to 15-year-olds now affected by this rising trend in the UK.

Disposable vapes are believed to be mainly driving the worrisome rise in youth vaping, with the number of 11- to 17-year-old vapers using disposables estimated to have increased by almost ninefold in the last two years.

 

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