That sucks

The WA Department of Health has seized more than 15,000 disposable nicotine vapes from retailers in a recent crackdown.

Young people talk about why they vape. Video: Andrew Du.

The Department of Health says it is targeting the illegal sale of e-cigarettes, with 3,000 retailers on notice. Restrictions on the selling of e-cigarettes are covered under WA’s Tobacco Products Control Act 2006, and Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.

More young people are becoming addicted to vapes. Photo: Andrew Du.

National Centre of Epidemiology and Population Health research assistant Sinan Brown says the sale of e-cigarette devices and nicotine vaping products is illegal, unless it is prescribed by a doctor to help people stop smoking.

“The policy is great … but it’s just about the enforcement of it and potentially looking at additional measures. More restrictions on advertising and promotions, we know a lot of advertising is directed at youth,” he says.

National manager of strategic programs at Alcohol and Drug Foundation Eleanor Costello says more young people than ever are vaping, and she’s worried they don’t know just how harmful it can be.

She says there are a range of things being done both at state and federal level to try and reduce the amount of people taking it up.

“A couple of weeks ago, there was a big announcement in Victoria, where they’re focusing specifically around education of young people including people like school nurses and councillors to raise awareness,” she says.  

Listen to more from Eleanor Costello.
Vapes come in a variety of different flavours. Photo: Andrew Du.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, e-cigarette use by Australians aged 14 or older has more than doubled between 2016 to 2019, and is most prevalent among smokers aged 18-24.

Experts say the variety of flavours available may contribute to young people trying e-cigarettes.

A senior Perth doctor, who asked not to be named, says there is potential for nicotine toxicity which can lead to severe complications.

“Nicotine toxicity which can cause heart rhythm problems, and in excess, it can cause seizures,” she says.

Listen to more from the Perth doctor.

States Sale
SADevices may be sold without nicotine
NSWDevices may be sold without nicotine
QLDDevices may be sold without nicotine
NTDevices may be sold without nicotine
VICDevices may be sold without nicotine
WADevices can’t be sold, nicotine-free liquids can
ACTDevices may be sold without nicotine
TASDevices may be sold without nicotine
Different rules for selling e-cigarettes.

Categories: Culture, General

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