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Impact of new vape bans questionable

Updated: May 11

The Therapeutic Goods Administration’s new laws banning the importation of vapes without a licence have been in effect for over a month. 

Adobe Stock (Educational License)

The March 1 bans stop all imports of vapes without a licence, enforce plain packaging, and restrict flavours, in an attempt to limit vape's appeal to teenagers and young adults. 

A recent survey from the Cancer Council revealed the number of 16 to 17-year-olds who have vaped has risen by 22 per cent since 2017.

Australian secondary school students drug and alcohol survey 2023 report, Department of Health and Aged Care

Cancer Council Quit Director Rachel Andersen says the Cancer Council supports the new legislation and that there is a “responsibility to act”.

It’s not surprising people under 30 are vaping the most when you consider flavours like fairy floss, chocolate milk, and cola ice,” she said. 

Ms Anderson highlighted the strong links between vapers and smokers, and says those who vape are three times as likely to take up smoking.

This is a major concern for the Council, who are hoping new laws will have the opposite effect.

“We hope the only place you’ll see vapes for sale will be in a pharmacy setting, as a smoking cessation tool for those who need it,” Andersen says. 

An anonymous university student from Melbourne says she has not found it any more difficult to buy vapes with “plenty of vape shops, convenience stores, and tobacconists still selling them”.

She says there are still the same options as before, but they have become “more expensive”. 

The student says the bans have not encouraged her to quit as she doesn’t believe the new regulations will be “strongly enforced”, but she has considered quitting for health reasons. 

Another student is having a similar experience, and says there are “no less options available,” however, vapes are “a bit more expensive.” 

Health concerns appear to be a significant factor for those quitting nicotine.

One student who recently quit says she “just knew that it wasn’t healthy”. 

“I was feeling nauseous after using it most of the time,” she says. 

Historical surveys by the Cancer Council on high school students saw a strong decrease in the number of committed smokers between 2011 and 2014, a period that saw strong reforms in the advertising and packaging of tobacco.

The Cancer Council hope the new regulations have a similar effect on young vapers in the near future. 

If you are struggling with nicotine addiction, you can reach out to Quitline at 13 7848 or find them online at


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