Vapers incensed over import blitz
Busselton vapers are breathing fire over proposed regulations to crack down on imports of nicotine.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is pushing the Department of Health to work with the Australian Border Force to stop illegal imports of the Schedule 7 poison.
From July 1 vapers will need a prescription to use nicotine e-cigarettes, with doctors advised to prescribe the product as a last resort. The move will be regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Busso Vape owner Trinite Williams said nicotine was no more harmful than caffeine and he would fight the ban in a “David versus Goliath” battle.
“There are vape shops in UK hospitals. Nicotine is a stimulant and provides a very similar effect on the body as caffeine,” he said.
“Without nicotine there is a significant chance that many of our customers will revert back to the more harmful combustible cigarette.
“In addition we must also consider the anxiety and mental health status of every individual within our community that will be affected by banning nicotine vape imports. I am already hearing the concerns from our customers and community about the fear they have in relapsing and regressing.”
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said there was limited evidence that vaping helped smokers quit.
“The appeal of these products to children is a serious concern and there is insufficient evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation,” he said.
Importing nicotine in WA is illegal, as is selling a product which resembles a cigarette.
Australian Council on Smoking and Health chief executive Maurice Swanson said retailers had based their business on a product which was illegal.
“Existing e-cigarette retailers should not be concerned because the importation of nicotine is not, and never has been legal in Australia without a doctor’s prescription,” he said. “The current business model of e-cigarette retailers was never going to be successful in the medium to longer term.”
The maximum fine for importing nicotine is $220,000.
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