29 June, 2020: The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has welcomed the Health Minister’s delay of laws which prohibit the personal importation of nicotine liquids for use in e-cigarettes and has called instead for a proper framework to govern the legal sale of these products, as other progressive nations have done.
Last week, without consultation or the possibility of parliamentary scrutiny, the Department of Health moved to prohibit the personal importation of nicotine liquids for use in e-cigarettes from July 1.
After a public outcry, including from several Government MPs, the move has now been delayed.
But AACS CEO Jeff Rogut says the policy should be abandoned altogether.
“Making it harder for people to access products that research shows are safer than traditional tobacco, and which have helped many people quit smoking, makes no sense. We need to make it easier for people to access such products,” Mr Rogut says.
“And we need to do it as safely and responsibly as we can. This means ensuring vaping products are of a mandated quality, that their ingredients are known and clearly displayed, that they are sold in tamper-proof packaging, and that they are sold to adult consumers only through responsible retailing channels.”
At present there are approximately 400,000 ex-smokers who are now vapers in Australia. It is legal, regulated and taxed in more than 50 countries including our more progressive neighbour New Zealand as well as the UK, USA, Canada, the 27 European Union member states, and every OECD nation except Turkey – and Australia.
“The delay in the Government’s plans represent a reprieve for now but we note it still intends to require people to obtain a prescription from their GP in order to access these products in the future. The reluctance of people to take this step, and the reluctance of GPs to prescribe these products, sets this policy up to fail as people will instead prefer simpler black market access to these products,” Mr Rogut said.
“We know from the spike in illicit tobacco in Australia that criminals are more than capable of flooding the market with illegal products to satisfy consumer demand for cheaper alternatives to excessively taxed legal tobacco. It will be the same with vaping if we don’t regulate the legal sale of vaping products, and a black market for these products has already emerged.
“We need the Australian Government to progress in line with the rest of the world and regulate the legal sale of e-cigarettes, with products of known quality and ingredients, sold through proven responsible channels.
“Then, and only then, can we genuinely offer Australian smokers a safer alternative to smoking, and another option to help them quit for good,” Mr Rogut said.
Chief Executive Officer
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
Ph: +61 467 873 789