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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

New laws compel graphic health warnings on vapes

Graphic warning labels seen on cigarette packaging will be extended to vapes. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

By Andrew Brown in Canberra

NEW graphic warnings will be placed on vapes to stop younger generations from taking up smoking.

Laws cracking down on smoking passed federal parliament on Thursday, which would also ban the use of appealing names for vaping products.

Under the changes, graphic warning labels will be updated on all cigarette packages and be extended to vapes, while all tobacco packets will be standardised along with the design and look of filters.

Current advertising restrictions on cigarettes will also be extended towards vapes.

Health Minister Mark Butler said the changes to smoking laws would save lives.

“Tobacco has caused immeasurable harm and cost us countless lives in this country,” he told parliament.

“We can’t stand by and allow another generation of people to be lured into addiction and suffer the enormous health, economic and social consequences.

“These reforms that will pass the parliament, will help us keep pace with the cynical marketing strategies of big tobacco.”

About 20 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds vape, while about one in seven 14 to 17-year-olds use the product.

The laws come as the government will ban the importation of single-use vapes from the start of next year.

Doctors and nurses would still be able to prescribe therapeutic vapes as a tool to help smokers quit.

It will also be illegal from March to import or supply vapes that don’t comply with standards from the medical regulator.

Mr Butler said while the government was still looking to reduce the national smoking rate below 10 per cent by 2025, smoking rates were rising among younger cohorts due to vapes.

“Australia now has legislation in place to underpin our renewed fight against tobacco and to protect the next generation from the devastating impacts of smoking,” he said.

Public Health Association of Australia chief executive Terry Slevin said the new laws were a welcome step.

“This new legislation, coupled with vaping regulations which take effect from January 1, will save tens of thousands of lives and reassert the country as a world leader in tobacco control,” he said.

“It is excellent news for children in Australia and future generations, who will be better protected against the influence of the tobacco industry.”

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Ian Meikle, editor

Australian Associated Press

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