New Zealand Vape Seller Defies Australia Import Rules

Vape Seller Defies Australia Import Ban

A New Zealand-based vape seller recently issued a bold pledge to keep shipping items to Australia in defiance of new import rules prohibiting non-therapeutic nicotine vapes. But authorities warn lawbreaking retailers face escalating enforcement action.

Retailer Snubs New Vape Laws

Online retailer Vapoureyes NZ published a notice to Australian customers after the March 1 import ban launch. They promised business as usual despite the crackdown from “one twat in Canberra,” seemingly referring to Health Minister Mark Butler.

The message dismissed efforts by Australian Border Force to intercept shipments. It also encouraged continued purchases despite hefty penalties and supply chain pressures.

But officials stressed regulations cover imports regardless of origin. And they’re bolstering capacity to identify violations along with packages from recalcitrant sellers.

Phased Prohibition Rollout

Australia’s vape prohibition continues phasing in through 2023. Recent rules barred imports without permits and licenses reserved for medicinal products. By mid-year, sales and even possession face blanket bans outside doctor-prescribed therapeutic vaping.

Authorities already netted over 300,000 illicit vapes worth $11 million since initial restrictions took effect January 1st. But vocal sellers like Vapoureyes openly flout the steady tightening of laws.

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Industry Messaging Conflicts

Tobacco control expert Becky Freeman argues such blatant disregard for regulation matches earlier defiance as rhetoric shifted. Vape brands leaning heavily on quit-aid positioning often ignored rules limiting commercial availability.

“They continuously remind us they’re responsible and follow laws,” Freeman said. “And then they don’t respect the laws of countries wanting to sell there.”

Minister Butler expects ongoing circumvention efforts as prohibition expands. But authorities emphasize escalating penalties while working with shipping firms to suppress violations.

Quitters Left Behind?

Remaining questions center on harm reduction impacts if imported devices face extinction. While youth usage clearly demanded action, adult access aided smoking cessation.

With therapeutic vaping strictly limited pending pharmacist approval, barriers may steer quitters back to cigarettes absent alternatives. Only rigorous analysis of public health outcomes can determine optimal policy.

Australia’s vape import ban marks only one phase in sweeping reform. But the proven benefits of tobacco harm reduction call for ensuring pragmatism, not moralizing, guides next steps.

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Matthew Ma