Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NSW crackdown on illegal vape sellers

The NSW government is committing $6.8 million over three years to invest in a crackdown on the sale of illegal vapes and to increase support for young people who are addicted to vaping.

The investment will commit:

  • $4.3 million over the next three years to bolster compliance and enforcement to ensure the state meets responsibilities for retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical controls on vaping products.
  • $2.5 million over the next 12 months to increase services to help young people quit vaping including a new digital platform, enhancements to the iCanQuit platform and an online learning module for youth services across the state.

“Ongoing work by NSW Health highlighted just how important it is further action is taken on the sale of illegal vapes, and provisions are made to support young people who are addicted to vaping,” reads a statement.

“There’s strong evidence that non-smokers who use e-cigarettes or vapes, are three times more likely to go on to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes as people who have never vaped.

“For young people, nicotine can cause changes to brain development, impaired learning and memory, and may worsen stress, depression and anxiety.

“NSW Health continues to crack down on retailers who illegally sell nicotine vapes as it expands compliance and monitoring activities across the state.”

In the week commencing 5 September, NSW Health inspectors ran a targeted campaign to crack down on illicit vapes.

These raids seized 23,247 vaping devices with a street value of over $695,000.

According to the NSW government, the state is currently on track to more than double the amount of illicit vapes seized in 2022. From 1 January to 30 June 2023, NSW Health seized 187,000 products, up from 61,000 at the same time last year.

Since 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2023, NSW Health has conducted over 5000 inspections and seized around 369,000 nicotine vapes and e-liquids, with an estimated street value of over $11.8 million.

A note for retailers

Retailers who are prosecuted for selling vapes containing nicotine face serious sanctions, including imprisonment for up to six months.

The warning to retailers comes amid new research conducted by the University of Wollongong, funded and commissioned by NSW Health, to test vapes for nicotine and other toxic chemicals known to harm health.

The sample included 428 vapes seized from retailers and 322 vapes surrendered by children at Sydney schools.

High nicotine concentrations were detected in 737 of the 750 vaping devices analysed in the study. Most of these devices didn’t have nicotine listed as an active ingredient.

Thirty of the devices contained at least one substance known to harm health, including toxic chemicals banned from legal nicotine containing vapes by the Therapeutic Goods Administration like ethylene glycol, which is also found in antifreeze.

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