Flavoured vapes to be banned in Australia, Health Minister Mark Butler tells QandA

All flavoured vapes will now be banned in Australia and only sold in one place – as Health Minister vows to ‘stamp out the public health menace’ after regulators were ‘tricked’

  • Health minister flags vape shake-up
  • Sale to be restricted to pharmacies 
  • Colours and flavours to be banned 

The sale of flavoured vapes will been banned in Australia as part of a major crackdown on e-cigarettes.

Health Minister Mark Butler dropped the bombshell on Monday’s episode of QandA, adding that an official announcement will come on Tuesday.

The strict laws will mean Aussies can only purchase vapes in plain packaging at pharmacies – not convenience stores, service stations or any other shops.

‘I am determined to stamp out this public health menace because that’s what I think it genuinely is,’ Mr Butler said.

‘They should only be available in therapeutic settings, which is essentially pharmacies.

‘Only products that are pharmaceutical style plain package, plain products, they don’t have flavours only those products should come into Australia.’



  • YES 190 votes
  • NO 268 votes

As part of the major push Mr Butler is also preparing to ban disposable vapes, which are single use e-cigarettes that don’t allow refills of the liquid electronically heated to produce the inhaled vapour. 

Currently vapes are available from convenience stores and tobacco outlets as well as from online sources and come in a bewildering variety of flavours, shapes and designs.

The minister said e-cigarettes were initially promoted to governments and health regulators as a therapeutic aid for people to quit smoking.

But he claims vape producers are instead targeting children to take up the dangerous and addictive product.

‘It was not sold as a recreational product targeted at our kids but that’s what it has become,’ he said.

‘Vapes are disguised as highlighter pens, as USB sticks so that people can take them to school and it is having a significant health effect on our youngest Australians.’

He accused producers of marketing to young people by decorating vapes with pink unicorns or giving them bubblegum flavours.

‘This is a deliberate strategy by the tobacco industry to create a new generation of nicotine addicts and far from being a pathway out of cigarettes, which is what it was promoted to us as, it has become a pathway into cigarettes for young people,’ he said. 

The use of vapes among young people has become a major concern for health authorities

It is estimated that over a million Australians regularly use vapes, with one in four 18 to 24-year-olds and one in six high school students having tried e-cigarettes.

The Health Minister claims vapes are now ‘the number one behavioural issue in high schools and are rapidly becoming the number one issue in primary schools’

The extent of the the federal government’s vaping crackdown will be revealed in the May federal Budget, Mr Butler said on Friday, with further details to be revealed at his Press Club address in Canberra on Tuesday.

In March a health academic argued that only pharmacies should be allowed to import vapes because other retailers, manufacturers and importers falsely label nicotine vapes, outlawed in Australia in late 2021, as nicotine-free.

Sydney University Associate Professor Becky Freeman said the legal importation of nicotine-free vapes was a loophole that needed to be closed with a complete ban imposed except for pharmacies to sell e-cigarettes that curb addiction. 

Vapes are currently sold in a bewildering assortment of colours and flavours, which Mr Butler believes target children

Vapes are currently sold in a bewildering assortment of colours and flavours, which Mr Butler believes target children

A major concern about the flood of vapes being imported from China is that many contain unlisted toxic and cancer-causing chemicals such as formaldehyde as well heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.

Mr Butler said the Victorian Poisons Hotline had received 50 calls about kids under four swallowing vaping liquids. 

The government has committed $63 million in next week’s budget to conducting a campaign to discourage Australians from vaping or smoking.

A further $30 million will be funneled to quit support programs and to training health practitioners in how to wean people off nicotine. 

A separate tackling Indigenous smoking program will be widened to include vaping, costing an extra $140 million.

Worry vaping facts 

– Many vapes contain nicotine making them addictive

– Vapes can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray

– Vapes can leave young people at increased risk of depression and anxiety

– The nicotine in one vape can = 50 cigarettes. Depending on the size of the vape and nicotine strength, it can be much higher

– Young people who vape are 3 times as likely to take up smoking cigarettes

– Vape aerosol is not water vapour

– Vaping has been linked to lung disease.

– Vapes can cause long-lasting damaging effects on the brain and physical development.

Source: NSW Government

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