An overhaul of regulations surrounding vaping products and a crackdown on the supply of such products to minors is needed, says Australian retail representative groups.

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), the Master Grocers Association (MGA), and the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), released a joint statement criticising the Commonwealth Government’s policy on vapes, claiming it is misguided, poorly designed, and failing the community.

Theo Foukkare, CEO AACS, said although the representative groups disagree with the current prescription model, they do not condone outlets disregarding the law and selling nicotine vaping products to anyone, especially children.

“We are urging the federal government to consider an overhaul of vaping regulations as a matter of urgency, bringing us into line with the UK and New Zealand where adults – and only adults – can access vapes to help them quit smoking. But in the meantime, urgent enforcement action is needed against those supplying vapes to children.”

The call for a crackdown on the supply of vapes to children comes following widespread reports of use of vapes in Queensland schools.

“We would welcome a crackdown on those that are supplying vaping products to children, whether that’s online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or rogue bricks and mortar traders.

“It is clear that not enough is being done to prevent unscrupulous store owners and dodgy online retailers from selling all kinds of vaping products containing mysterious cocktails of ingredients to teens.”

The associations also noted an influx of ‘pop-up shops’ selling illicit tobacco products across south east Queensland over the last 18 months, with the majority also selling nicotine vapes.

“These are clearly irresponsible retailers who should not be permitted to sell any tobacco of vaping products.”

A proposed solution could be the introduction of a low-cost licensing scheme in Queensland allowing only responsible retailers to deal in tobacco products and would provide a mechanism to shut down and punish those operating outside the law.

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