It’s time to remove ineffective prohibition on vapes, says AACS 

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has called on the government to allow its members to sell vapes the same way they sell tobacco.

In a submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), AACS claims that Australia’s nicotine vape black market will continue to flourish if the federal government fails to update regulations. 

Australia is one of only a few developed countries to ban the use of vapes without a GP prescription, and Theo Foukkare, CEO of ACCS, said this has led to unregulated use in adults and children, as well as millions in lost revenue for retailers. 

“The current policy of prohibition has turned everyday adults into common criminals as they turn to the black market to access nicotine vapes. Our research shows that only 10 per cent of adult consumers are using the TGA model as intended. 

“The black market here is booming because the more than 1.2 million Aussie adults who choose to vape can only buy unregulated, often dangerous products online because the government refuses to address the situation responsibly,” said Foukkare.  

Submissions to the TGA on possible changes to vaping regulations close today, with many organisations putting forward proposals to relax sales of highly regulated vape products. 

“Our members are trusted to sell tobacco products responsibly to adults and they are also able to sell quit-smoking aids like nicotine inhalers, patches and gum.

“If our members were able to sell identifiable, properly regulated nicotine vapes to adults, where ingredients must be stipulated, flavouring and packaging regulations complied with, just as they are with tobacco, we’d be able to stave off the black market,” said Foukkare.

In recent months both New Zealand and the United Kingdom have legalised the sale of nicotine vapes to adults, and Foukkare said it’s time Australia follows suit. 

“Those countries have seen a huge decline in tobacco smoking and the vape black market in those countries has shrunk considerably.

“It’s time for Australia officials to reflect on how we got to this position, remove prohibition which has historically never worked with any product, and take control of this issue in a responsible manner now,” he said. 

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