Australia's health minister announced tough measures to curb vaping on Tuesday, accusing the tobacco industry of wanting to make the next generation of teenagers 'addicted to nicotine'. Billed as the country's biggest anti-smoking reform in a decade, Canberra will ban single-use e-cigarettes, stop imports of over-the-counter versions and restrict the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes.
Australia has long had a proactive tobacco eradication policy, and in 2012 it became the first country to impose 'neutral' cigarette packs, a policy that has since been copied by many countries. Due to high taxes on tobacco sales, Australian cigarettes are among the most expensive in the world, with a pack of 25 selling for around 50 Australian dollars (30 euros).
In recent years, Canberra has struggled to contain What is the puff, that teenage favorite disposable e-cigarette? “Vaping has become the number one behavioral issue in high schools. And it is spreading in primary schools,” Health Minister Mark Butler said in his speech. "As with tobacco, the world's biggest companies in the industry have taken another addictive product, wrapped it in glitzy packaging and added flavors to create a new generation of nicotine addicts."
E-cigarettes will still be allowed, but only on prescription, as a quit smoking aid. "Vaping has been sold to governments and the world as a therapeutic product to help long-time smokers quit," Butler said. "It was not sold as a recreational product, especially not for our children." According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, the country has one of the lowest daily smoking rates in the world, but the number of young people under 25 starting to smoke has increased.