NEARLY $30 million has been committed over five years to combat vaping in Queensland following a parliamentary inquiry.
The Health and Environment Committee’s report, handed down in August, made 14 recommendations aimed at tackling the vaping crisis, including targeting the illegal importation of vapes, and providing greater education for young people. The Government has accepted all 14 recommendations.
As part of the response, the Government will commit $2 million in 2023-24, and then $5 million annually, to support public health units to better enforce vaping laws and establish a joint Task Force with the Commonwealth.
An investment of $500,000 will be made in this financial year, followed by $1 million annually to expand the Quitline service and provide more support for people who are trying to quit vaping.
Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman said the Queensland Government has been relentless in the struggle against the vaping crisis in Queensland.
“We have already seen great success from our advertising campaign targeted at young people and we have worked co-operatively with the Federal Government to crack down on illegal suppliers – but there is more to do,” she said.
“This $28.4 million package will mean stronger enforcement, better education, and more support for people trying to quit vaping.”
“One vape is equivalent to 400 cigarettes. The fact that they are being targeted to children, with bright colours and sweet flavours, is frankly disgusting.
“The Queensland Government will not stand by and let the next generation become addicted to nicotine and vaping, while exposing our health system to further unnecessary burdens.”
Funding will also go towards co-designing and rolling out a support program for school-aged children with nicotine dependency.
This follows a suite of measures already announced by the Queensland Government to tackle the vaping crisis, including the roll out of the youth-focused “There’s Nothing Sweet About Vapes” campaign, stronger laws passed earlier this year targeting illicit tobacco and vaping products, and a series of coordinated raids carried out with the Australian Border Force.
Since tougher laws were passed in May this year, at least 170,000 illegal vapes have been seized in Queensland, with a street value of $5.1 million.
People requiring support to quit vaping or smoking can call Quitline on 13 78 48.
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