Retail leaders from across Australia have called on the Albanese Government to convene a national policy summit to identify urgent actions to quash black market sales of e-cigarettes.
The Master Grocers Association (MGA), the Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association (ALNA), and united by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) state that the current regulatory approach is effectively prohibitionist and is directly contributing to the chaos in the market and enabling illegitimate retailers to sell unregulated products to anyone, including children.
Theo Foukkare, CEO of AACS, said the UK and New Zealand have implemented very effective regulatory models that are keeping these products out of the hands of their youth, giving retailers a restricted range to sell and limiting the black market.
“The effect of policy failings in containing and eliminating both illicit tobacco and illicit e cigarettes is now more than ever, having negative effects on population health and the degeneration of legitimate retailers.”
ABC’s 4 Corners exposed the chasm in leadership that has supported the rising black market vaping trade which targets and exploits young Australians.
The retail groups claim that as a result of the Morrison Government’s poorly informed approach, Australia is behind the rest of the world in vaping regulation, and that a national policy summit is needed to do the following:
- Design cost-effective enforcement measures
- Abolish the prescription scheme which is not being accessed by consumers
- Identify ways to disrupt the unruly syndicates that are driving black market trade
- Support immediate age limits on sales and marketing restrictions
- Implement a national licencing scheme for all retailer sellers of vaping products, underpinned by a national product accountability tracking scheme
- Limit sales of nicotine vaping products to licensed, responsible retailers.
The groups state that the system is failing and how it is addressed in the interests of adult consumers, in preventing youth access and the wider legitimate retail industry, will be a critical test of Prime Minister Albanese’s Government.