The West Australian government is threatening to destroy the retail vape industry in Western Australia with massive fines for selling vaping products and nicotine-free liquids.
But they are ensuring that only the black market and tobacco companies will ultimately benefit.
Vape stores were informed of the crackdown by letter last month and were told they could face up to $80,000 in penalties.
The current legislation in WA, the Tobacco Product Control Act 2006, bans the sale of devices that look like cigarettes.
However, although there has been no recent change in the legislation, WA Health has confirmed that penalties will now apply to all vaping-related goods, including individual components of vaping devices, batteries, and nicotine-free liquids. If enforced, this would shut down vape stores across the state, leaving only the black market in operation.
The crackdown comes in response to a rise in youth vaping. A new initiative was recently announced to educate young people on nicotine addiction and chemicals in vaping products.
Young people should be given accurate information to help them make informed choices. However,
this campaign, based on the NSW Health ‘Do you know what you’re vaping?’ campaign, is alarmist, exaggerates risks and is riddled with misinformation.
There is no doubt that youth vaping is on the rise. However, this rise is being driven almost exclusively by black-market sales. Vape stores do not sell these illegal products, or any products containing nicotine.
These businesses have frequent inspections from the Health Department and have been assured for many years that their businesses are legal.