WA’s vapers are going on the attack over a looming ban on the importation of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine and nicotine refills into Australia.
A petition and a fighting fund have both been launched to challenge the decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration that takes effect from July 1.
Previously people could legally import nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or liquids if it was for personal use. But now individuals will only be able to vape if they have a prescription from their doctor.
Anyone breaching the rules could be fined up to $220,000.
The sale of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine is already banned in WA.
The TGA points to evidence that the use of e-cigarettes by non-smoking youths predicts future take up of smoking to support the ban.
“In the USA, there was a 78 per cent increase in the number of high school children who are vaping over the most recent 12-month period surveyed. Without action, Australian youth will also be at risk.”
The ban is set to remain in place for 12 months to allow for public consultation about regulation of the products. A final decision is expected to be made in 2021.
Members of Facebook group Perth Vaping United have tried to rally support to get the prohibition overturned, urging followers to “dig deep” to donate to Legalise Vaping Australia’s fighting fund.
The fund aims to raise $1.5m to mount a legal challenge to stop the “senseless” ban from being implemented.
“There has never been a more important time to come together as a community than there is right now. All donations go towards legal fees for the fight,” Stuart Bowerman wrote.
“We don’t have much time to raise the funds, but I know as the strong community that we are we can reach this goal and get it done.”
As of 12pm on Tuesday, a little over $8500 had been raised.
Around 28,000 people have signed Legalise Vaping Australia’s petition calling on Health Minister Greg Hunt to allow vaping.
A second petition on change.org is also circulating online and has been signed by more than 730 people.
Danique Buncle called the decision to ban vaping an “absolute disgrace” and said everyone should sign the petition to legalise the habit.
A campaign to tweet and email local MPs and Senators is also underway.
One Vape Balcatta has also thrown its support behind efforts to lift the ban, posting on Facebook that nicotine prohibition is not the answer to saving smoker’s lives.