National shame: Feds may move on vaping as four-year-olds ‘ingesting nicotine’

Dozens of children under the age of four ingesting nicotine has been cited by Health Minister Mark Butler as one of the reasons for a crackdown on vaping laws.

Mar 23, 2023, updated Mar 23, 2023
Children as young as four were "ingesting nicotine' thanks to vaping. (AAP image).

Children as young as four were "ingesting nicotine' thanks to vaping. (AAP image).

Mark Butler said there was a need to get vaping “under control”, saying the products were being specifically marketed towards children.

Butler said in the past year alone, more than 50 children aged four and under had been reported to the Victorian poisons hotline for ingesting nicotine.

“This is the biggest behavioural issue in primary schools, I mean, this is an industry shamelessly marketing not just to teenagers but to young children,” he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

“This is an industry trying to create a new generation of nicotine addicts so they get around all of the hard work our country and other countries have done over recent decades to stamp out smoking.”

Butler said state and territory health ministers were meeting to institute reform to vaping.

“Health ministers, when we met a couple of weeks ago, we’re at pains to stress that every single option is on the table as far as we’re concerned (for reform).”

“We’re looking at absolutely everything.”

The comments coincide with a push by the Nationals to change laws to allow for nicotine vaping products to be sold to people 18 and over, similar to cigarettes.

Currently, nicotine vapes can only be purchased with a prescription, with only pharmacies able to sell vapes with nicotine in them.

Butler ruled out making changes to vaping rules put out by the Nationals.

“The option the National Party has adopted, an option presented by the tobacco industry which is essentially to normalise these products around the country, we’re certainly not going to be doing that,” he said.

“Essentially what they’ve done is just taken the front page of a policy document driven by the tobacco industry and adopted it as the National Party policy.”

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