The first stage of the federal government’s vaping reforms began on January 1 with a ban on importation of disposable single-use vapes.
Local vape supplies are already reportedly beginning to dry up, forcing many vapers to begin their cessation journey, while those who are able to get their hands on a vape say they have increased in price due to the demand.
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said the changes would protect central Victorians, particularly young people, from the harms of vaping and nicotine dependence, while ensuring those with a legitimate need to access therapeutic vapes could continue to do so, where clinically appropriate.
Fifty-four per cent of Victorian adults who use vapes are aged under 30 years.
The latest data, from the Australian Secondary Schools Alcohol and Drug survey, shows that about one in eight 12 to 15-year-olds and one in five 16 to 17-year-olds had vaped in the past month.
Approximately 80 per cent of these young people were using disposable vaping devices.
Nearly one-third of students tried vaping for the first time when they were aged 15 or 16, while 23 per cent of students reported being 12 years or younger.
Ms Chesters said vaping was creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community.
“Concerns about vaping is the number one issue that is raised with me from young people, their parents, secondary schools and health professionals who work with young people.”
“This is just the first chapter of the government’s vaping reform, the supply of vapes coming into Australia will gradually dry up over the course of 2024, for this reason we strongly encourage all recreational vapers to begin their journey of cessation,” she said.
Doctor and nurse practitioners are now able to prescribe therapeutic vaping products, where clinically appropriate, with the commencement of a new Special Access Scheme pathway.
The government has also committed $29.5 million over four years for specialised programs and health service expansions to meet increased demand to support people to quit smoking and vaping arising from the new tobacco and vaping reforms including: new clinical guidance for health professionals, the creation of an online cessation hub, and the redevelopment of the My Quit Buddy app to provide both smoking and vaping cessation support.
Further restrictions will come into effect on March 1, including stopping personal importation of vapes, banning all non-therapeutic vapes, and tougher compliance laws for prescription vapes.
During 2024, product standards for therapeutic vapes will also be strengthened, including to limit flavours, reduce permissible nicotine concentrations and require pharmaceutical packaging.
To coincide with the ban, Quit Victoria last week launched Victorian-first curriculum-aligned resources to help teachers and students learn about youth vaping harms.
For tips to help you quit vaping visit www.quit.org.au/articles/tips-to-help-you-quit-vaping