Covid crusader Dr Kerry Chant launches a war on vapes with huge fines for those who break her tough rules: ‘Zero tolerance approach’
- Dr Kerry Chant waged war against illegal vapes being sold by retailers in NSW
- Chief health officer said she was taking a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to vaping
- More than $1million in illegal vapes seized this year and $3million since 2020
Top doctor Kerry Chant has declared a war on illegal vapes with more than $1million worth of e-cigarettes and liquids seized this year.
The NSW chief health officer said she was taking a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to vapes containing nicotine being illegally sold in stores.
‘[NSW Health is] cracking down on the illegal sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquids and taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who sell them,’ she said.
Retailers have been put on notice and warned they will be punished with heavy fines or jail time if they breach regulation.
Top doctor Kerry Chant has declared a war on illegal vapes with more than $1million worth of e-cigarettes and liquids seized this year (pictured, a woman smoking an electric cigarette)
The NSW chief health officer (pictured in April) said she was taking a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to vapes containing nicotine being illegally sold in stores
‘You will be caught, illegal items will be seized, and you could face prosecution, resulting in being fined or even jailed,’ Dr Chant said.
More than $3million worth of illegal vapes and vaping products have been seized in a series of raids since July 1, 2020.
Individuals facing an $11,000 penalty for the first offence and a $55,000 fine for the second while corporations will be forced to pay $55,000 the first time and $110,000 the second.
Dr Chant said too many young people were not aware of the true nature of vapes and simply believed they were ‘flavoured water’.
She said they actually contained chemicals that were so poisonous they could inflict life-threatening injuries on the smoker.
One in three vapes sold in Australia contain illegal amounts of banned chemicals and may cause dangerous illnesses including ‘popcorn lung’
Banned levels of ingredients linked to harmful lung diseases such as ‘popcorn lung’ have been found in nearly a third of vapes sold in Australia.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration found 31 per cent of the 214 e-cigarettes it analysed had chemical concentrations that exceeded the legal limit.
Those substances included the additives vitamin E acetate and diacetyl, which is widely linked to a rare condition called bronchiolitis obliterans that damages the small airways in the lungs.
The disease is nicknamed ‘popcorn lung’ because diacetyl used to be added to microwave popcorn as a food colouring.
Pictured is an X-ray scan showing the effects of ‘popcorn lung’ – which has been widely linked to vaping
The TGA also found all 190 nicotine vape products it tested broke new labelling rules designed to warn customers of the potential dangers.
A spokesman for the government body said the banned ingredients were known to cause lung damage in the form of bronchiolitis obliterans and EVALI.
EVALI – which stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury – is thought to be caused by vapes containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance also found in marijuana, and vitamin E acetate.
Federal legislation introduced last October imposed minimum safety standards for nicotine vapes imported from overseas and made warning labels mandatory.
The law also made it illegal to purchase nicotine vapes without a prescription.
The new laws are set to curb the risk of nicotine vaping uptake in young adults, while also allowing current smokers to access the products for smoking cessation, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
There are still two ways prescription holders can obtain nicotine vaping products in Australia; from a pharmacy or importing from overseas websites.
Prescriptions can only be written by one of 80 authorised prescribers, or by a doctor with approval under the TGA’s Special Access Scheme B.
An authorised prescriber of nicotine vaping products must be a GP who is registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Despite disapproval from vaping advocates, the new laws are being supported by The Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH).
‘ACOSH strongly supports any measure that will effectively stem the flow of illegal disposable e-cigarettes into Australia that are being used by an increasing number of children and teenagers,’ said Chief Executive Maurice Swanson.
‘There is growing concern about the use of e-cigarettes among children and teenagers.’
More than $3million worth of illegal vapes and vaping products have been seized in a series of raids since July 1, 2020 (pictured, a display of flavoured electric cigarettes)
Teenagers have been warned about the dangers of vapes after research showed young people thought vaping was a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard launched the anti-vaping campaign after research found ‘more and more young people (are) using vapes’.
The government and NSW Health are ‘very concerned about the impact of those vapes on young people’s lives, particularly on their lungs’, he said on Tuesday.
Global research indicates young people commonly think vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking.
Teenagers have been warned about the dangers of vapes after research showed young people thought vaping was a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes (pictured, a vape pen)
Mr Hazzard said vaping damaged adult lungs and caused more concern for developing lungs in teenagers and children.
The minister told a parliamentary hearing last week the thought of kids picking up the habit was ‘atrocious’.
The Get The Facts – Vaping Toolkit targets and students aged 14 to 17 and provides resources for teachers, parents and carers to start conversations about the dangers of vaping.
‘We know that amongst many young people, e-cigarettes or vapes have been considered safe and certainly safer than cigarettes,’ NSW Acting Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale said.
The combination of having a sweet or fruity flavour, being in attractive packaging and their ‘vapour’ often perceived as water, people often consider vapes harmless.