Do vape juice restrictions really work?

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COUNTRIES THAT ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS ARTICLE

Over the last few years, certain countries have introduced restrictions on vaping for various different reasons. The restrictions and regulations vary from country to country, and in this article I’m going to take a look at specific ones and see what impact they have had and if it’s for the right reasons.

Australia’s fail on banning nicotine vape juice

Australia are one of the more recent countries to enforce restrictions on the sales of vape juice that contained nicotine. In 2021, the country enforced the ruling that nicotine vape juice could only be obtained by a pharmacy, after the person had received a written prescription from their GP giving reason as to why they need nicotine containing vape juice. This was introduced in a bid to combat the youth vaping problem the country was facing, by restricting access to nicotine vaping products.

This had disaster written all over it from the start, and many experts within the vaping industry attempted to warn the powers that be that these restrictions were not going to withstand the test of time, and to seriously consider changing their minds, but this fell on deaf ears and the restrictions were bought in.

What followed in the following year was nothing short of catastrophic. The black market sales of illicit poor quality nicotine containing vape juice as well as disposable vaping devices sky rocketed, and with this, the amount of youth vapers also increased as well. People were finding ways and means of getting hold of disposable vapes for their nicotine fix with it being reported that Uber drivers were selling them to their passengers!

And the amount of doctors who actually can prescribe nicotine vape juice is 1353, which is 1% of the total 130,000 registered doctors in the country! Doctors surveyed have said they have been given little to no training on how to go about prescribing nicotine, therefore do not feel safe to do so should there be any repercussions.

I’ve written an article on this specific topic where I annotate Dr Colin’s take on it.

And to update further on this situation, the head of the Therapeutic Goods Association who had a heavy influence in this decision to ban nicotine vape juice for general sale in Australia, has gone on record to say that the current state of affairs in Australia with all the above mentioned is a disaster and the plan has failed. Which comes as no surprise really!

New Zealand appear to be getting it right

New Zealand imposed restrictions that affected vaping in November 2020, and two years on since the introduction of them it seems that they are effectively working how they had hoped.

The restrictions were imposed whilst being conscious of people wanting to quit smoking still being able to obtain the less harmful alternatives whilst also ensuring they do not market the products to a younger underage demographic.

The prohibition was introduced of vaping in places like work, schools, care centres and places where young children play plus the selling of products to anyone under 18, and the blanket ban of all advertising and sponsorship relating to vaping products.

These restrictions appear to be working well, and New Zealand ministry of health support the statement of “Vaping is safer than smoking” and they strongly believe they are on course to meet their Smokefree 2025 goal that was set out when these regulations were introduced.

It’s fascinating to see such a huge contrast between these two countries considering how close together they are. It appears New Zealand are getting things very right, and meanwhile Australia are getting things very wrong.

Bans in the USA are being counterproductive

America’s legislations on vaping are set out by the Food and Drug Administration, and each state is free to impose their own restrictions providing they are not stricter than those that have been set out by the FDA.

The state of Massachusetts imposed a ban of all flavoured vape juice within their state as well as a harsh 75% tax on vaping products in a bid to cut down the amount of youths vaping within their state. With this introduction, the problem arose that is always a fear by anti-regulation campaigners where vapers reverted back to smoking simply because it was a cheaper and more convenient option than going through the rigmarole of getting hold of the flavoured juices they were used to. And the sales of cigarettes packs increased drastically within the state. A win for the tobacco companies, but a huge loss for the vaping industry.

California is the latest to introduce a statewide flavour ban under Proposition 31, which has just been voted in favour for in the state. This means that flavoured vape juice is prohibited from sale within the state of California, again in a bid to combat the youth vaping problems they seem to be facing. This ban has caused huge uproar within the state of California, and many believe that black market sales will boom, and people will resort to backstreet methods to still obtain their flavours, similar to what is happening in Australia.

China’s flavour ban causing all sorts of chaos in the country

The ban’s that China have implemented are arguably the most complex ones as it covers a whole lot of sectors within the vaping industry, from flavours right up to device manufacture and vape juice production. I’ve written an article specifically on this which you can read HERE but I’ll still going in to some detail regarding it for the sake of this article.

China regulated E-Cigarettes to be in line with the same regulations as Cigarettes were, and various rules and restrictions were placed on them, but in October 1st 2022, a flavour ban on all vape juices were introduced in the country. With the only flavour option being tobacco vape juice.

And as expected, this has had a negative effect on the vaping industry in China, with sales and profits taking a huge dip, and some manufacturers not even applying for the new necessary licence required to carry on producing e-cigarette related products. This was after there was a rise in the prices of flavours back in April after the initial announcement of the governments intentions to ban flavours and residents of China scrambled to start stockpiling their favourite flavours before they disappeared for good.

Netherlands are set to introduce a flavour ban

Netherlands created the biggest shock of this year within Europe by implementing a complete flavour ban on all vape juices, and enforced a list of specific “permitted” ingredients that can be used in vape juice, which can be used to create a simple tobacco flavour vape juice and nothing else after some research was conducted on the list of ingredients.

There was a huge uproar and anti campaigns against this, but the bill was passed by the Dutch government, and it is coming into effect as of January 1st next year. My personal beliefs is that this is a veiled attempt on banning vaping completely within the country, and it’s caused mass uproar and upset amongst vapers who are afraid they will now relapse due to not being able to get flavours they were previously accustomed to. You can read my article on this topic HERE

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a consistent trend in these countries who bring in these restrictions and regulations, with them wanting to combat youth vaping in their country, and the idea of banning flavours is the most prominent and what they believe is the correct thing to do. But as the other trend shows, this doesn’t really work and ends up causing

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