Vaping products ‘bypass’ import ban, fall into children’s hands, WADA warns

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has raised concerns that young people continue to access vaping products despite the entry into force of an import ban.

Since the beginning of October, the Australian Border Force has the power to intercept packages of electronic nicotine cigarettes, nicotine pods or liquid nicotine.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said the decision to ban imports was due to a “significant increase” in their use by children as young as 11 who were “illegally” sold to them.

But AMA SA president Michelle Atchison said she was concerned that young people would continue to access disposable vaping products in convenience stores and other retailers.

“There have been recent regulations for us to control the importation of nicotine,” Dr Atchison told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“These disposable vaping products – they’re a real problem for WADA because they get around what we’re trying to do.”

WADA President Michelle Atchison is concerned about the current prevalence of vaping among schoolchildren.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

It is estimated that over 200,000 Australians use electronic cigarettes.

According to a recent study of 65 fluids commonly used in vaping products, many contain carcinogenic and other harmful ingredients.

This is the most comprehensive product study available in Australia to date and researchers have found evidence of a group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to lung cancer. , bladder and digestive tract.

Dr Atchison said that although access to vaping products has been restricted, they remain legally available from doctors, who can prescribe them to help people quit smoking.

But she said evidence – including under her own roof – suggested they were addicting themselves.

“I have a young adult in my house who uses them,” she said.

“She had smoked cigarettes so for us it wasn’t a bad thing that she started vaping because it smelled less disgusting than cigarettes, but it was very difficult for her to get rid of it.

“It’s scary that our young people are out there looking for these products. They are easy to find. They avoid going to a GP and getting a prescription.”

South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association president Peter Mader said anecdotal reports from eastern states suggested vaping was extremely popular among schoolchildren.

“It has reached a tipping point where there is more vaping in schools than traditional smoking which has always been a problem,” he said.

“Here, I don’t think it’s so prevalent yet, but it is clear that it is happening.”

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