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On the vaping legislation changes

27 June, 2024:

Firstly, I'd like to thank the government and commend them for the work that they have done to eradicate vaping in the way that they can. There's been so much hard work done behind the scenes from public health agencies and health promotion agencies. Vaping with single-use vapes was an absolute scourge—it is an absolute scourge, I should say—and one that targeted our children in a way that was extremely cynical, so much so that schools in my electorate have had to install vape detectors in bathrooms because children were leaving classrooms to go and vape. The impact that has had on children's behaviour, their concentration and their ability to learn has been absolutely horrific. What I would like to say, however, is that I am disappointed at the watering down of what was a really incredible bill. I am disappointed. It is sad because it was, I guess, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really end the scourge of vapes and the targeting of our children with that. My concern is that the ability for vapes to be bought without a prescription by people over the age of 18—and the ability to buy over nine—will mean that people will go from pharmacy to pharmacy to pharmacy. Just as people doctor shopped to get certain prescription medications, they will be shopping around their pharmacists. They'll be able to get a large amount, and they'll be able to on sell those to their friends. Their 18-year-old friends will be able to sell to the children who are already addicted to nicotine. We know that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to mankind. The large majority of children are already addicted to nicotine. When it becomes expensive, having to buy those vapes, they will simply turn to smoking cigarettes. It is a gateway. It leaves the door open for vaping to continue, and it leaves the door open for that move towards cigarettes. It is a cynical ploy by the big tobacco companies who want to start manufacturing these vapes. It is a cynical ploy to continue to get people hooked on nicotine, which is a gateway to smoking. Although I really support the measures that the government is trying to implement, I'm very disappointed that it's been watered down in this way, because I think it will only leave the door open to more smoking in our young people.