Increase in E-cigarette Sales Despite Australian Government's Reform Measures

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Increase in E-cigarette Sales Despite Australian Government's Reform Measures
More than 600 stores in New South Wales, Australia, are defying the federal government's ban on e-cigarette sales.

According to a report from The Guardian on November 28th, despite the Australian federal government's announcement of strict reform measures prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes in convenience stores in the first half of 2023, over 600 stores in New South Wales have started selling e-cigarette products, indicating a significant surge in the market.


Despite legal regulations stating that the only lawful way to purchase e-cigarettes containing nicotine is through a pharmacist using a doctor's prescription, individuals aged 18 and above can buy e-cigarettes without nicotine from retailers.


As part of a series of reforms announced by the federal government in 2022, the importation of both nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes will be banned starting from March 2024.


Dr. Kerry Chant, the Chief Health Officer of New South Wales, stated to The Guardian that "apparently, the majority of e-cigarettes sold by retailers" contain nicotine, thus prompting public health authorities to significantly increase compliance activities. Officials are targeting stores that sell e-cigarettes containing nicotine and those selling them to children.


According to Chant, the New South Wales Health Department seized over 485,000 nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and e-liquids between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, with an estimated street value exceeding AUD 15.5 million.


A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Health has stated that the sale of vaporized nicotine products is one of the most common types of complaints received by the department.


The number of complaints regarding tobacco and e-cigarette has increased from 909 in the year 2020 to 2,407 in the year 2022. Furthermore, she revealed that a total of 1,654 violation reports were received from January 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023.


Professor Becky Freeman, a tobacco control expert at the University of Sydney, expressed shock at the continued number of stores selling e-cigarettes.


Freeman stated:


While I agree that profitability is the main driving force here, I also believe that these retailers may also believe that the strong lobbying efforts by the e-cigarette and tobacco industry will be successful in weakening Australia's e-cigarette laws.


Victoria's Health Minister Euan Wallace mentioned on Friday to the parliamentary Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that Victoria is the only state without an e-cigarette licensing scheme, as well as lacking a register for suppliers.


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