27 September 2023

Nicotine-infested vapes seized by the thousands

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WA Health has seized more than 15,000 illegal disposable nicotine vapes from retailers valued at more than $500,000, in just six weeks.

In a statement, the Department said targeted operations had been conducted on retailers across the State to help minimise the health risks to the community, in particular to young people who were increasingly using e-cigarettes.

“Chemical tests on vapes supposed to contain no nicotine, conducted by the ChemCentre in Bentley, have returned positive results for nicotine, a harmful and toxic drug, in two thirds of products tested,” the Department said.

WA Health’s Chief Pharmacist, Meeghan Clay said vapes imported from overseas were often labelled incorrectly and could contain nicotine.

“In WA, it is illegal to sell e-cigarette devices and nicotine vaping products to anyone regardless of their age, unless they are prescribed by a doctor for smoking cessation purposes and obtained with a prescription from a pharmacy,” Ms Clay said.

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the sheer number of illegal vapes seized by WA Health in just a matter of weeks was alarming, especially given their appeal to young people.

“People are often wrongly under the impression the liquid in vapes is flavoured water,” Ms Sanderson said.

“However, there are many harmful impacts of vaping,” she said.

“In many cases people are ingesting poisonous chemicals that can cause life-threatening illnesses.”

Ms Sanderson said we now know that many of the vapes being sold in WA as nicotine free in fact contain the highly addictive substance.

“I call on retailers to do the right thing and stop selling these illegal products immediately,” the Minister said.

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