Brimbank Council is working hard to tackle the accessibility of young people to e-cigarettes, also known as ‘vapes’.
This follows a report released by the Western Public Health Unit (WPHU) which found that stores selling e-cigarettes were in close proximity to places frequented by young people, such as schools and leisure centres.
Consumers must be aged 18 or over and have a prescription for all purchases of nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine.
It is illegal for other Australian retailers, such as tobacconists, ‘vape’ shops and convenience stores, to sell you nicotine vaping products, even with a prescription.
Council has been tackling the issue by:
• undertaking regular compliance checks on retailers
• responding to complaints from community members
• educating local businesses to help them do the right thing
• referring retailers to relevant enforcement agencies, where necessary.
Council has undertaken inspections and education activities as part of the Municipal Association of Victoria Tobacco Education and Enforcement Program. Under this program, Council educated retailers about their obligations not to sell tobacco and e-cigarettes to minors.
“Brimbank Council wants to guard the health of our young people against the harm caused by e-cigarettes by tackling this issue in partnership with state health authorities, as well as state and federal regulators,” said Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic.
“Parents and other care-givers play an important role in keeping the lines of communication open with their child or teenager since they can have a positive influence on their attitudes toward using e-cigarettes and other nicotine products.”
The findings from the WPHU project conducted in Brimbank will help to inform future advocacy, policy and legislation of e-cigarettes in Victoria. It can also inform future strategies and initiatives prepared by Council, health authorities, and other community partners to address this significant public health issue.