The recent report detailing how our youth are unknowingly becoming addicted to nicotine vaping products reflects the urgent need to reform Australia’s product labelling standards.
Although nicotine vaping products have been around for nearly 20 years, their usage continues to skyrocket with nearly 1.1 million adult Australians now vaping.
The sale of nicotine vaping products in Australia is illegal without a prescription from a GP. However, despite its intentions, this model has fueled a black market which has increased the accessibility of nicotine vaping products, including to young people.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requires all nicotine vaping products have a correct ingredient list that includes the active ingredients (nicotine). But the black market is facilitating the importation of illicit nicotine vaping products, many of which falsely claim to be nicotine free and often have no basic ingredient labelling.
These illegitimate products are available for purchase by consumers, young and old. They often have no indication of what is contained in their vaping products.
The black market that supplies these products was brought into being by Australia’s unnecessarily restrictive rules on the sale of nicotine vaping products, which are the toughest of any OECD country. The high demand for these black market products has attracted more and more illegitimate players into the market, bringing with them their sub-standard products. The compounding effect has produced a market that is far too big to police, and system-level reform is required.
Implementing an effective product code of conduct for vapes will ensure that only the vaping products that meet these high standards are allowed to be legally sold to Australian consumers.
The Federal Government must urgently reform Australia’s product labelling standards so that consumers can have clear choice in this category, which is now used by well over a million Australian adults.