Vaping still on the nose

THE councillor who drove Vincent’s crackdown on smoke and vape shops has welcomed the federal government’s plan to stamp out vaping.

Federal health minister Mark Butler announced a week ago increased efforts to stop illegal importation of non-prescription vapes, restrictions on flavours, colouring and fancy packaging, and a ban on disposable vapes.  

Councillor Jonathan Hallett, also a public health researcher at Curtin uni, was behind the local policy that targeted premises offering smoking, vaping, or shisha products or services. 

The new rule, given final approval by councillors in December 2022, restricts premises from opening up near a wide range of other land uses, including residences, businesses, child cares, schools, or parks. 

The policy also prevents smoking-related products from being directly displayed or visible from the street.

Cr Hallett’s policy was based on research showing that smoking rates increased in tandem with the density of smoke shops, and underage smoking rates also increased when premises were allowed near schools. 

“I think the federal health minister has carefully listened to the medical and scientific evidence to reduce not only vaping but also smoking, contributing significant funds to evidence-based education campaigns to discourage smoking and vaping and support for smoking cessation,” Cr Hallett said.

“We know from recently published evidence that 14 per cent of young Australians currently use e-cigarettes. We also know that people who don’t smoke but use e-cigarettes are around three times as likely to take up smoking as those who don’t use e-cigarettes.

“This insidious industry is profiting from addicting a new generation of young people to nicotine and this re-establishes Australia as a world leader in tobacco control.

“For those who are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking they will still be available through prescription and support is available for those vaping to manage nicotine withdrawal signs if they want it.”

Vaping advocates, including some who’ve written in to the Voice like Colin Mendelsohn, have often said “research shows [vaping] is around 95 per cent safer than smoking”.

Cr Hallett points to a recent 

article by his public health researcher colleague Jonine Jancey pointing out “this statement stems from a study criticised for its lack of hard evidence”. 

Vincent council has also established smoke-free town centres, including vapes. 

It’s been running for six months so far, and they’re currently inviting feedback on how it’s been working out so far via imagine. until June 30.


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