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Media Release

Cancer Council congratulates the Federal Government on announcing decisive actions to address vaping epidemic and smoking

May 1, 2023

Cancer Council applauds the decisive action announced by the Australian government today, to safeguard our tobacco control successes and stop a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.

The federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Honourable Mark Butler MP, has shown resolute leadership and collaboration, listening to the public health and medical evidence to protect nonsmokers, users and young people by:

  • Stopping the import of non-prescription e-cigarettes at our borders, to end the flood of these inherently harmful products entering the country;
  • Banning all single use, disposable vapes, strengthening and reinforcing the prescription pathway;
  • Introducing measures to reduce the appeal and use outside of the prescription pathway, by introducing minimum quality standards on flavours, colours and ingredients; pharmaceutical like packaging; and reducing allowable nicotine contents.

“Today marks an historic shift toward ending the vaping epidemic. The Federal Government have heard the concerns of our communities, schools and health experts, taking a significant step to stop illegal supply and access to these harmful products,” encourages Professor Tanya Buchanan, CEO of Cancer Council Australia.

“Every measure announced today reinforces the prescription pathway and recognises that for the overwhelming majority of Australians (89%) who do not smoke, e-cigarettes are not safe and threaten Australia’s hard-fought successes in driving down smoking rates”, Professor Buchanan explains.

Professor Buchanan also notes the importance of preventing the growing use of e-cigarettes as part of wider tobacco initiatives to drive down smoking rates, as non-smokers who use e-cigarettes are also three times as likely to go on to smoke regular cigarettes.

“Unlike smoking, we have a window of opportunity to take policy actions that prevent the growing use of e-cigarettes. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing actions to restrict access, support quitting and invest in enforcement action at all levels of government alongside education campaigns to support families and kids affected today”.

“It’s also fantastic to see the Federal Government expand existing, highly successful programs like Tackling Indigenous Smoking to tackle e-cigarettes and tobacco together,” Professor Buchanan said.

“Alongside investment in support programs, both to deliver more care to support Australians already addicted to nicotine to quit vaping and upskill our health practitioners with these essential skills, this gives the best chance to equitably reduce nicotine addiction” Professor Buchanan added. 

Cancer Council commends the federal government and now urges every state and territory government to build on this momentum.

“Every state and territory government must use this opportunity to continue to crackdown on illegal retail sales and warehousing of e-cigarette products and ban the supply of all e-cigarette products outside the prescription pathway”.

“With support from all levels of government, we can reverse the e-cigarette epidemic and prevent history repeating itself for a new generation of Australians,” concludes Professor Buchanan.

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