The recent announcement by the Federal Health Minister to implement further bans on vaping products in Australia is infuriating and downright nonsensical. It is beyond frustrating for those who recognise the sheer ineffectiveness of such measures.
Western Australia serves as a glaring example of the complete inadequacy of vaping bans in tackling the black market. Despite implementing a total ban on vaping products without a prescription years ago, reports reveal a thriving underground black-market that specifically caters to the very demographic the ban claims to protect – children and adolescents. This harsh reality exposes the inherent flaws in assuming that prohibitive measures can magically eradicate the accessibility and allure of vaping for minors.
A major flaw of these outright bans is that they unwittingly fuel the growth of the black market. Prohibition predictably gives rise to a lucrative and unregulated industry, fostering an environment of increased criminal activity and the potential influx of even more harmful products flooding the market. Instead of genuinely addressing the issue, these bans simply shift the problem from legitimate, regulated channels to illegitimate and uncontrollable ones. By stubbornly maintaining a ban without offering a practical legal alternative, the government inadvertently pushes people, including vulnerable minors, right into the hands of unscrupulous sources.
So, if these bans have already been tried, tested, and undeniably failed in Western Australia, why on earth is the Federal Government still persisting with the absurd prescription model and further bans? It defies all logic. What Australia needs are common sense solutions.
The legalisation of vapes and the establishment of comprehensive retail regulations, alongside stringent age restrictions, can effectively curb the distribution and sale of illicit vaping products by replacing the black market with a regulated market. By implementing rigorous quality control measures, the government can guarantee that consumers have access to safe and standardised products. Regulating and legalising vaping products will also allow the Government to extract tax revenue from a lucrative market. It's time for the government to wake up and embrace a sensible approach to this issue.