Government seeking public feedback on vaping proposals as it cracks down on youth use

The Government is seeking the public's feedback on measures to help lower the number of young people vaping.

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the Government is proposing further restrictions in a bid to curb people starting the habit.

The first proposal is introducing proximity restrictions for all new specialist vape retailers, for instance, they can't be near schools and sports grounds. These restrictions wouldn't apply to general vape retailers such as dairies and petrol stations, which are already limited to the sale of three vape flavours, Dr Verrall said.

Secondly, restricting vape flavour names to reduce the attraction of vaping products to young people.

"We are proposing vaping liquids and vape product packaging will be limited to a description of the product's flavour and this complies with permitted flavour descriptions," Dr Verrall said in a statement on Wednesday.

For example, flavour names such as 'cotton candy' and 'gummy bears' would no longer be allowed, with the generic term 'candy' being used instead.

Thirdly, the Government is looking at restricting single-use vaping products. This would mean all vaping products for sale would need to have removable or replaceable batteries, child safety mechanisms, and substance container labelling.

The maximum concentration of nicotine salts allowed in single-use products like disposable vapes would also be reduced from 50mg/ml to 35mg/ml, Dr Verral said, and serial or batch numbers will be required to ensure they can be traced if there are safety concerns.

"Disposable vapes are an easy gateway product to vaping and internationally there has been a dramatic increase in younger people using them. A recent study found 86 percent of 14-17 years old from New South Wales had tried disposable vapes," Dr Verrall said.

"Clearly we have seen a rise in young people taking up vaping, these additional measures will work to protect youth from the appeal and attractiveness of vaping.

"Vaping has a role to play in ensuring smokers who wish to quit smoking can do so using vaping products. However youth vaping rates are too high and we need to strike a better balance."

A consultation document titled Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime, which also seeks feedback on proposals to implement significant reductions to the retail availability, appeal, and addictiveness of smoked tobacco products, is available on the Ministry of Health website. Submissions close at 5pm on March 15, 2023.