The ‘Dirty Ashtray Award’, given annually by the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) and the AMA, has this year been jointly awarded to Queensland and Victoria, along with vape sellers who illegally supply e-cigarettes to young people.
Presenting the awards, outgoing AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid called on Queensland and Victoria to require all tobacco retailers to be licenced to protect young people from the enormous harm caused by tobacco products.
“Inadequate priority has been given in these jurisdictions to implementing existing state laws, and ensuring compliance with those laws, to prevent the sale of illegal e-cigarettes to children and teenagers,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Retailers of tobacco products in both states are not required to be licensed and this makes it very difficult to enforce existing laws and ensure compliance.”
Dr Khorshid said suppliers of vapes must be accountable for their part in undermining public health and safety.
“It’s illegal in Australia to sell, supply or possess nicotine vaping products without a doctor’s prescription. However, a lack of enforcement means these products are easily accessible and available online and in shops across the country.”
“We are extremely concerned about the growing and unacceptable levels of e-cigarette use among young people aged 18–24 years and by secondary and primary school students. Many vaping products appeal directly to children with their bright, colourful packaging and fruity flavours – creating an illusion of being a safer alternative to smoking.”