The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has strongly contested claims about the alleged sale of nicotine containing vaping devices to minors by convenience stores.
Theo Foukkare, CEO, AACS, represents the interests of responsible retailers within the convenience and service station industry in Australia.
He says that these allegations of bootleg nicotine vape sales to minors are without merit and defends the high standards of AACS members when it comes to the sale of regulated products such as tobacco.
“Our retailers have extremely high standards, especially when it comes to selling tobacco related products, and anything with regard to youth,” he says.
“It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 18 years of age, and our members strictly abide by this. In fact, most of our members have a policy to ask for proof of age if a customer looks to be under 25.
“In addition, nicotine containing vaping products are illegal for any Australian retailers to sell today, either in-store or online.
“Zero nicotine containing vaping products are legally able to be sold in some states and fall under each state’s strict Tobacco Act, which all include compliance measures such as 18-plus, restriction in their display and a host of other restrictions.
“The AACS supports strong government regulation on vaping to ensure that responsible adults who choose to purchase zero nicotine vapes are provided within a set of guidelines, which includes the introduction of a clear flavour convention that is not targeted or to be preferred by those not of legal age. We commend the New Zealand Government on their regulatory approach to vaping which came into place recently.
“We also want to see stronger action to prevent the illicit importation of nicotine containing vapes, disguised as zero-nicotine products and sold via illegitimate retailers or on the black market.
“Illegal retailing of illicit tobacco products has been occurring for years in Australia, and the AACS is working with Federal and State Authorities to drive greater enforcement and fines to eradicate this.
“We want to stamp out illegal tobacco and nicotine containing vape sales just as much as anyone else, and if anyone has information about retailers who are illegally selling nicotine vaping products, I urge that this be brought to the attention of authorities, with our full support,” Foukkare said.
*The AACS represents the interests of the majority of responsible retailers within the convenience and service station industry in Australia, with a total number of 6580 stores nationwide.