Tuesday 27 June 2023

More black market scaremongering

None of this can really be happening. It has to be fake news. Or somehow generated by the tobacco industry. Remember? Janet Hoek told us. Black markets are just tobacco-funded scaremongering. 

A dramatic influx of illegal vapes into Australia is distracting border force officials from stopping guns and illicit drugs from entering the country.

And the inundation of vapes has led the Australian Border Force to call out for more workers to fulfil the Federal Government’s demands of detecting, storing and disposing of every illegal e-cigarette.

The West Australian understands the high volume of vapes being imported has taken up border force staff’s time because they are required to refer e-cigarettes without a prescription to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Sources aware of the process say it is time-consuming and is diverting workers away from other priorities such as seizing smuggled weapons and drugs.

Limited and costly transport and storage capacity has created further issues as the agency is required to hold the products while a decision is being made by the TGA. The products are either then destroyed or released to the owner after samples are tested.

Ok. Maybe it's happening. But there's no way that tobacco and nicotine prohibitionists are to blame. That's just tobacco industry scaremongering.  

New regulations came into place under the Morrison Government in 2021 where any nicotine product hitting Australian shores without a prescription from a local doctor is seized and referred to the TGA for laboratory analysis to see if it contains nicotine.

The Albanese Government has gone a step further — last month announcing a plan to ban imports of recreational vapes at the border, which means those that do not contain nicotine, in the hope it will stamp out the black market.

A Border Force spokesman told The West the organisation required more staff with the calls coming before the new reforms have been implemented.

“As with any legislative change, an alteration to border controls will have a significant impact to ABF frontline resources and will require an uplift in our capability and capacity to detect, store and dispose of products containing nicotine safely,” the spokesman said.

The only possible conclusion is that Australian border officials are beholden to Big Tobacco. I can't wait for the expose on it from Hoek. I'm sure The Conversation will publish it for her.  

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