South Australia introduces draconian vaping laws
Posted on October 26, 2018
South Australia is taking anti-vaping policy to a new level. The Tobacco Products Regulation (E-cigarettes and Review) Amendment Bill 2018 was passed in Parliament on 16 November 2018 and deliver the harshest regulations in Australia. The new laws protects the tobacco industry from competition and make it even harder for smokers to transition to vaping, a much less harmful alternative.
Smokers in South Australia are already struggling to quit. Smoking rates have not changed since 2012 when 16.7% of SA adults smoked, according to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. In fact, adult smoking rates INCREASED 1.6% from 14.9% to 16.5% from 2016 to 2017.
You would think the SA parliament would be doing everything it can to help smokers quit. Instead, SA is attempting to destroy the vaping industry and make it harder for smokers to access safer products.
Ban of online, email, phone and mail orders
South Australia will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban the sale of vaping products ordered online, by mail, phone, email or fax.
Two thirds of industry sales within South Australia are online according to Australia's vape advocacy peak body, Australian Vaping Advocacy, Trade and Research (AVATAR). More than half of all vendors based in South Australia do not operate a physical retail store and rely entirely on online sales.
It is hard to see how this could have any possible benefit for public health. Instead of ordering from the website of their local vape businesses, customers will be forced to purchase supplies interstate or internationally from unknown sources. Disabled, elderly and rural customers who lack mobility or access to a physical store would be at a major disadvantage.
Moreover, this law is unenforceable. The SA government plans to prosecute vendors selling products online to South Australians. Good luck with that!
Decimation of the SA vape industry
The new legislation will lead to substantial job losses, closure of businesses and loss of government revenue.
Vape shops are essentially privately-funded stop-smoking services. Research has shown that vape shops help smokers quit. Weakening this service will cost lives.
South Australia has the highest concentration of vape businesses in Australia, with over 85 vendors. Many businesses will close and others are planning to leave the state in order to continue to trade profitably.
According to AVATAR, the industry employs almost 200 people. Many jobs will be lost in the vaping and related industries.
Online retail sales in South Australia are worth roughly $60 million per year and contribute tens of millions of dollars to the SA economy. Government revenue will be slashed.
It is almost certain that an uncontrolled black market will step in to fill the gaps.
Harsh in-store restrictions
The new legislation forbids in-store vaping and taste testing. This will undermine the successful transition from smoking to vaping.
Most smokers go through a process of trying different devices, flavours, nicotine strengths etc before finding the combination that works best for them. In-store testing and advice from staff is an important part of learning to vape and selecting the right product.
There is no public health justification for banning in-store vaping. Vaping in vape shops has been found to create minimal levels of ambient chemicals. A study in a vape shop where employees and customers vaped, by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that:
'Concentrations of vaping-related chemicals in our air samples were below occupational exposure limits'
Public Health England and the UK Royal College of Physicians have both determined that the health risk from secondhand vapour is negligible. In any case, vape shops are clearly marked so people wanting to avoid exposure need not enter.
The new laws will take effect in 6 months, in mid-May 2019.