New Zealand Online E-cigarette Retailer: Continue Shipping to Australia

Regulations by 2FIRSTS Leona Zhu
New Zealand Online E-cigarette Retailer: Continue Shipping to Australia
New Zealand e-cigarette retailer mocks Australian government e-cigarette reforms, vows to continue shipping despite import ban.

On March 1, the Australian newspaper "The Guardian" reported that a New Zealand online e-cigarette retailer mocked the Albany government (Australian government) for its e-cigarette reforms. The retailer told customers that they have no intention of stopping e-cigarette shipments because of a "bastard in Canberra," likely referring to federal health minister Mark Butler.


Starting from March 1st, e-cigarettes cannot be imported into Australia unless importers have licenses and permits. Importers and manufacturers of prescription e-cigarettes also need to notify the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia that their products meet standards.


A notice posted on the website without a license for Australian customers states: "If you have not received your order by the deadline, please understand: we do not intend to stop just because of one jerk in Canberra.


Even after the March 1 deadline, we will continue to ship internationally (including Australia).


The salesperson claimed, "After obtaining reliable legal advice, it is clear that the new regulations in Australia do not apply to us here in New Zealand."


"If the Australian Border Force (ABF) wants to waste time trying to prevent you from quitting smoking instead of trying to intercept dozens of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine crossing the Australian border... good luck to them."


However, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health stated that the import ban applies regardless of the country of origin.


"This includes New Zealand," they said.


The Australian Border Force (ABF) and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are working closely together to prevent illegal e-cigarettes from entering the country and are prepared to take escalated enforcement actions when necessary, such as issuing warning notices or pursuing legal action.


The TGA is taking action to stop overseas websites from advertising to Australians.


Butler told The Guardian Australia that despite some e-cigarette and tobacco companies attempting to "try every trick in the book to circumvent our world-leading e-cigarette reforms," the TGA has seized over 360,000 e-cigarettes worth nearly $11 million since January 1. He said this is about three times the amount seized in 2023.


"I want to honestly tell everyone, we cannot stop every e-cigarette from entering this country, just like we cannot stop every bit of cocaine or other illegal drugs," Butler said.


"But we are dealing with a situation where these things are constantly flowing in and being sold to children, through e-cigarette stores located within walking distance of schools, with 90% of these shops being within walking distance of schools. This is not a coincidence, they are doing this because that is their target market. So, we really just need to cut off this supply."


The government is set to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to prohibit the domestic manufacture, advertising, supply, and commercial ownership of non-therapeutic and disposable e-cigarettes. If passed, this would result in the closure of physical e-cigarette stores.


Professor Becky Freeman, a tobacco control expert at the University of Sydney, says that Australia should be prepared to have similar responses ready for other retailers.


She added that e-cigarette vendors appear to change their information based on their agenda.


"On one hand, they constantly remind us that they abide by the law, they are responsible, and they intend to do the right thing by standing on the side of helping people quit smoking and doing good deeds. However, they do not respect the laws of the country in which they want to sell their products."


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