The South Australian Government has banned the online advertisement, promotion and sale of e-cigarette products
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said this is a move towards limiting pathways for young people to progress to e-cigarette and/or tobacco smoking.
The Marshall Liberal Government says that the legislation will help boost their protection from the ill effects of tobacco.
“Building on the laws that started 31 March 2019, will now be an offence to advertise and promote e-cigarette products, display e-cigarette products at the point of sale and sell e-cigarette products by indirect means, including online sales,” Minister Wade said.
“We are committed to protecting the community from the potential harms of e-cigarettes. Banning the promotion, advertisement and online sale of e-cigarettes minimises the risk of minors getting access to these products.
“Our children are impressionable and it is important they receive the right messages to make informed health and wellbeing choices as they mature towards adulthood.”
Local and interstate e-cigarette retailers have had a six-month transition period to make the required changes to their business, and from today will receive penalties for failing to comply with the regulations.
From 1 October 2019, all retailers have a responsibility to not sell or supply e-cigarette products to any person under the age of 18.
Penalties for businesses who fail to meet the regulations will be up to $20,000 for a first offence and up to $40,000 for a subsequent offence.
State Director of Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA), Marina Bowshall, said the new laws will protect South Australians from the effects of smoking.
“While we don’t know the full health effects of e-cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes generate an aerosol or vapour for inhalation which is potentially harmful,” Ms Bowshall said.
“This is an important public health measure to reduce the exposure to the effects of e-cigarettes and to bring South Australia in line with most other states and territories.
“This precautionary approach will protect the health of the community, including children, while still allowing adults to access these products and we will continue to monitor research into the health effects of e-cigarettes.”
In South Australia, it is an offence to sell or supply e-cigarettes to a person under the age of 18 years, use e-cigarettes in a public smoke-free area, and provide free samples, prizes, or gifts relating to e-cigarettes.
The Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association slammed the legislation.
“The negative impact of this regressive legislation is hard to overstate,” it said.
“Businesses will close or move, causing hundreds of job losses and millions of dollars of lost revenue for South Australia. Life-saving vaping products will be harder to access and many vapers will be condemned to returning to deadly tobacco smoking.
“Worst affected will be customers living in rural and regional areas with no access to brick and mortar vape stores, and people with disability or mobility problems— effectively now been banned from vaping.”
It highlighted that interstate companies are still subject to the South Australian law and are committing an offence if they sell a product to a South Australian customer.
Harm minimisation proponents also criticised the move on social media.
Online #vaping sales banned in South Australia from today. Forget about allowing people to make their own decisions. Or basing policy on evidence. Or small government. Or social justice. This will help Big Tobacco whether or not that’s intention https://t.co/mZEXcoydVl
— Alex Wodak (@AlexWodak) September 30, 2019
Researchers from the University of Queensland’s schools of pharmacy and public health recently found that many pharmacy staff feel uninformed and unsure of how to handle patient enquiries.
Seven deaths have been linked to e-cigarette use to date.