Posted on December 5, 2023 By Colin
WHAT IS THE LIKELY OUTCOME from Mark Butler’s draconian restrictions on vaping? Having dusted off my crystal ball, here’s my take: Butler's ban is likely to fail, setting the stage for an eventual shift towards a more progressive vaping policy in 2025.
The key elements of Butler’s crackdown are
The majority of vapers, unwilling to medicalise their vaping habits, are likely to continue to bypass prescriptions. Limited flavour options, higher costs, inadequate nicotine levels in pharmacy products and a reduced range of products will further drive vapers away from legal channels.
I foresee minimal participation from doctors and pharmacists in the new system. It will remain difficult to get a nicotine prescription and pharmacy supplies will be difficult to access. Few doctors and pharmacists will have adequate training to counsel and support vaping.
Criminal networks are expected to capitalise on the restrictions, fuelling an unregulated market rife with disposables and a limited but evolving product range. This illicit trade could also feed a rise in related criminal activities.
Despite heightened legal risks, many vapers will likely continue to import products illegally, motivated by the fear of reverting to smoking. People are willing to take risks if their lives depend on it.
The stringent regulations are poised to decimate the legitimate vaping industry, resulting in widespread business closures, job losses, and a significant economic impact.
The cumbersome legal requirements for vaping will drive some vapers back to smoking. Additionally, the lack of available flavours, limited product range and absence of support from vape shops might deter smokers from transitioning to vaping.
The black market will continue supplying a wide variety of flavoured products to underage users. Some enterprising kids will become drug dealers, selling to other kids and making a tidy profit – training wheels for a future criminal lifestyle. Some young people who would have taken up vaping, will instead take up smoking.
Butler’s slow motion train wreck will limp on for about a year, by which time it will be obvious that it was a monumental policy failure, as anticipated by the vaping community.
This policy failure, will eventually lead to a more rational and fair approach to vaping regulation. Hopefully this will commence in 2025.