Australian Vape Prohibition Punishes Marginalized

Vape Bans

The Australian E-Liquid Ban has been postponed until 1/1/2021. For a complete analysis of the efforts of the Australian Parliament to block the Department of Health power grab, check out our feature: Australian MPs Block Vape Ban Power Grab.

For information on the actual text of Australia's vape ban prohibition can click here.

In the United States, strict e-cig bans punish marginalized groups. We live in a country where access to combustible cigarette alternatives is being largely dictated by the of the billionaire like Michael Bloomberg and his coterie of anti-vaping activists. The hundreds of millions he has proven eager to dump into ill-advised bans on the bright and delightful e-liquid flavors that adults prefer has managed to drown out the concerns of adult vapers being funneled back onto cigarettes. Although Big Tobacco companies are attempting regulatory capture, at the end of the day Bloomberg is paying the piper and is calling the tune.

No matter how many anti-vaping studies are rescinded, check out this USA Today examination of the fraudulent heart attack vaping study, by promoting their cause as "Protecting the Children", groups like the Truth Initiative have run rampant over adult access to cigarette alternatives and, ironically enough, the truth. Meanwhile, restricted access drives former smokers back into the arms of Big Tobacco. The LGBTQ+ community, which smokes and vapes at a higher rate than any other census defined group and rural residents are hit hardest by vape bans.

The CDC delayed the release of their youth tobacco survey for several months but in the end it demonstrated that vaping flavors were not the reason why kids vape.

The CDC also failed to identify THC Carts with vitamin-E acetate as the cause of vaping lung disease until deep into the winter, even though New York state (no friend of nicotine vaping), Utah and various industry groups identified that this mysterious disease had nothing to do with commercially available nicotine products by Labor Day.

At least the CDC explained why vitamin E appeared not a single nicotine ejuice, the viscosity is essentially incompatible and it serves no purpose. But the retraction is never as big as the headline and it is impossible to unring the bell of fear.

Australian Vape Ban

Outside of the UK, a beacon of rational policies on vaping, there are plenty of over countries waging their own war against adult access to e-cigarettes. Australia has had a long track record of making it difficult for vapers to obtain e-liquids from local sources but now they have taken it a step further with an outright ban on ejuice importation. Australia always contrasted sharply with the US and the UK regarding vaping, as we examined in this feature on Teen Vaping in the UK, US and Australia.

But vaping just got a whole lot harder for Australian adults. As described in an Australian Department of Health press release, there will be a complete ban on the importation of e-liquids starting on July 1, 2020.

The ban will remain in effect for 12 months to allow for public consultation on the regulation in Australia of nicotine products by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

At least their is no masking of intentions with acronyms as was the case with the SAFE Kids Act. The word "prohibition" is splashed all over Australian government vape ban related documents and landing pages.

With a tradition of drinking, Australia does not have the baggage of the 18th Amendment and Prohibition in their cultural history, so the word does not have the same negative connotation when describing restrictions placed on adults participating in a once legal activity. It is worth noting that Aboriginals were denied access to alcohol in some regions during the 1920s.

For more on the Australian ban , check out the Question and Answer section discussing prohibition on importing e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine.

Future of Vaping in Australia

What this means for Australian vapers is that any order for Eliquids from abroad need to be placed by late June. And there is no end in sight for the restrictions. There is an opening for doctors to provide prescriptions for nicotine containing e-cigs.

“Individuals would get their vaporiser nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or nicotine-containing refills via a permission granted by the Department of Health to a doctor or medical supplier who would be able to import the goods using a courier service or by cargo service.  The goods cannot be imported through international mail. Passengers who arrive in Australia with vaporiser nicotine containing e-cigarettes and nicotine-containing refills that match a prescription they are carrying with them, would be exempt from the prohibition.

Australian Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration

The prohibition on imports for e-cigarettes or nicotine-containing refills would be consistent with the existing ban in all state and territories on the sale of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine.”

What Happens to Orders Arriving After July 1, 2020?

As described by the Australian Government Department of Health, The Australian Border Force (ABF) is obliged by law to seize e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine which arrive in Australia on or after 1 July 2020.

The ABF is also obliged to send you a seizure letter giving you an opportunity to object to the seizure of the e-cigarettes. For example, a valid objection may be because they do not contain vaporiser nicotine. The government, through the TGA laboratories, may also test products that are suspected of containing nicotine.

Fallout

Not surprisingly, the same restrictions and standards do not apply to combustible cigarettes or to the ineffectual nicotine replacement therapies peddled by pharmaceutical giants. A New England Journal of Medicine study that found vaping was far more effective than nicotine replacement therapy modalities has done nothing to stop the attacks waged on vaping.

Australia must be banking on vapers not reverting back to cigarettes, or are expecting vapers to adhere to a puritanical gold standard of total nicotine abstinence. Such an approach would get you branded as a rube or a complete cretin when dealing with any other legal but risky adult behavior.

As has been demonstrated in San Francisco, vape bans mean more smoking  and the steepest price is paid by marginalized groups. This makes perfect sense as the wealthy gave up smoking several decades ago and few vapers have access to the levers of power. It is easy to tightly restrict and even outright ban an activity that no one in your circle of friends engages in.

This is the same reason that underage drinking, a scourge which kills 4,300 minors annually in the US and sends 130,000 to the emergency room according to the CDC, receives nowhere near the same level of scrutiny. Whether it is in Australia or US, the wealthy imbibe more than any other group and have no interest in banning their own vices. The alien vices others that are viewed as disreputable, especially those that serve as an alternative to revenue generating big tobacco products, do not get the same benefit of the doubt.