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AACS Provides Warning for the UK from Australia

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores provides evidence that the UK needs to move forward cautiously with its approach to vaping

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The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has provided evidence that the UK needs to move forward cautiously with its approach to vaping. The Association has delivered up troublesome news regarding the state of Australia’s black market. Further research the organisation has conducted shows that vaping is growing despite the blinkered Australian restrictions being toughened up. It spells out a message to Prime Minister Sunak’s government that a ‘get tough’ approach is doomed to failure.

A survey commissioned by the AACS has revealed Dunkley voters overwhelmingly want vaping products to be strictly regulated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco – and they’ll base their vote on it.
The survey revealed that voters want to see strict 18+ regulation to bring vaping into line with tobacco and alcohol. Moreover, 73% of all voters are not confident that the Australian Government’s prescription-only vaping policy and ‘recreational vaping’ ban will work.

AACS CEO Theo Foukkare said its clear voters are sick and tired of the record high youth vaping rates, the rampant black market and the regular firebombings that have resulted from the Australian Government’s failure to effectively control vaping.

This survey’s results reflect other widely published research that shows the vast majority of Australians believe vaping products should be strictly controlled like how alcohol and tobacco are and only sold to adults by licenced retailers,” he said.

It’s clear voters understand that Australia doesn’t have a youth smoking or drinking crisis because the government effectively controls these products for adults only, and [they] are demanding the same for vapes.

“Nearly three-quarters of voters have no confidence in the Australian Government’s plan to double down on the failed prescription-only vaping model that has created this black-market crisis.

“This research shows that Health Minister Mark Butler’s policy is not only inflicting harm on Australian families battling against his youth vaping crisis and the black-market crimewave, but also on the Labor Party’s vote.”

The scale of the failure has been highlighted in Roy Morgan data which shows more than 90,000 Australian adults have taken up vaping over the past three months, taking the total number of adults vapers to 1,723,000.

The AACS says: “Almost 400,000 Australians took up vaping between December 2022 and December 2023 – which equates to a 30 per cent surge in uptake year-on-year, the Roy Morgan survey, commissioned by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores found.

“Nationally, the number of adult vapers has grown by 349 per cent over the past five years and the Roy Morgan survey also found New South Wales had seen the biggest growth in vaping numbers, with an uptake of more than 470 per cent; that means more than half a million people aged over 18 took up vaping in that NSW since December 2019.

“Victoria’s adult vaping numbers have increased by 355 per cent over the same survey period, while Western Australia has seen a 329 per cent increase in adults who vape, the Roy Morgan data has revealed.

“Shockingly, the state with the smallest population, Tasmania, saw a 322 per cent increase in the number of adults who vape.”

Theo Foukkare said: “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler are simultaneously creating another burden during the cost-of-living crisis by forcing adults who vape to see a doctor and pay $150 – around five times the amount for a black market vape – to access a legal one from the chemist.

“With around 90 per cent of all vapers buying from the black market, this 30 per cent increase in adult vapers indicates there are now more than 120 million unregulated illegal vapes flooding Australia every year.

“The majority of Aussies are struggling to put food on the table, so forcing them to pay the Medicare gap to see a doctor so that they can then go to a pharmacy and pay $150 for one will just send more and more people to the black market where they can easily access cheap, yet dangerous, nicotine vapes that have been made with insidious chemicals in China.”

He said new laws are incredibly flawed and will result in 450,000 Aussies heading to the GP twice this year to get a vape prescription, “that’s almost a million doctors’ appointments needed. If all 1.7 million Australians who vape end up getting a prescription twice a year, that would lead to a staggering 3.5 million extra doctors’ appointments on top of an already crippled healthcare system.”

With the UK facing tight restrictions on vaping for the first time, the Australian experience has been shown to be a complete failure.

Theo Foukkare told the Express. “Australia’s ban looks good on paper but you only have to take a walk down any shopping strip, past a bus stop or the local pub and you’ll see a bunch of people sucking on illegal disposable vapes that they’ve clearly bought from the black market.

“A disposable ban, or any other ban, will only result in pushing up costs, people will end up buying unregulated and poorly manufactured cheap vapes on the black market.

“The black market in Australia will continue to boom unless the Australian Government moves to regulate the sale of strictly manufactured-to-code vapes to people aged 18 and over, just like they do with alcohol and tobacco.”

It’s not like British politicians haven’t been warned.

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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