AUSSIE VAPERS ARE ANGRY, ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL about Mark Butler’s proposed vaping crackdown. Many are genuinely terrified of returning to smoking and very few are willing to comply with the new laws.
Vapers feel that Mark Butler is not listening. He hears one side of the story from his advisers and is ignoring their needs and concerns.
In their own words
Here are their concerns about the prescription model, based on hundreds of messages I have received over the last few weeks.
Finding a doctor
Finding a doctor who supports vaping and obtaining a nicotine prescription can be a major hurdle.
“I have been to 6 different doctors and 8 pharmacies in my area asking if they would provide a prescription and supply nicotine. Not one was willing to do so”
“The thought of having to go to a doctor every time I want to buy vapes fills me with dread. There is no doubt that it will add a stigma to vaping that isn't fair. I'll feel like a heroin addict lining up to get my methadone fix”
“I don’t need a lecture from a judgie doctor every time I go for a script”
“I use nicotine for anxiety, but my doctor won't prescribe it because I'm 'not a smoker trying to quit' "
Costs are prohibitive
The prescription pathway involves medical fees and pharmacy markups and is unaffordable for many low-income and disadvantaged people.
“I make my own juice and it costs about 50 cents a day. No way will I be paying pharma prices for inferior products”
"As an aged pensioner, I can't afford pharmacy pods, which cost $7-11 each. I use 4 pods a day - it's just too expensive."
“My current monthly expenses for vaping are max $80/month. The pharmacy device is about $280/month. I can’t afford that”
Personal preferences threatened
Successful vaping often involves experimentation to find the right setup that works for you. Starting all over again can be a major challenge.
“It took me months of experimenting to find the right device, flavours and nicotine strength I needed to finally quit smoking, I'm not starting over with limited pharmacy products”
“The chemist vapes won't work for me. I've perfected my setup and I won't compromise. The chemist devices won’t cut it"
"The chemist won't stock my preferred devices and flavours. I have not choice but to get them from the black market"
Flavours are critical
Flavours play a major role in keeping vapers away from cigarettes but only tobacco and mint will be available. This is a deal-breaker for many vapers.
“I rely on butterscotch marshmallow cream cookie flavour to remain smoke-free. I’ll be going straight to the black market to get the flavours I like”
“I won’t be using pharma products because I don't like tobacco or mint flavor”
“Strawberry and berry work for me. I won’t be getting a script for flavours I don't like”
Vapers are angry and frustrated about government interference in their personal choices.
“It's none of the government’s business how I obtain and use consumer goods”
“I should have autonomy over my own body. The government should get out of everyone's business”
"It's infuriating that smokers trying to improve their health are being demonized and penalized"
How vapers plan to respond
Aussie vapers are preparing for the ban in various ways.
The black market alternative
Most plan to continue purchasing supplies on the black market in spite of the risks involved. If history is any guide, the black market will simply go underground and illegal, unregulated supplies will remain widely available.
"Breaking the law is frightening, but it's less scary than going back to cigarettes. I feel like I have no choice"
“If I have to break the law to save my life then so be it"
Many vapers have been stocking up with supplies to last for years.
“I have spent an absolute fortune in the past few months filling my freezer. I'm lucky I can do that but I'm sure many can't afford to”
“You can get PG/VG and food flavourings from a food shop and make it yourself. Nicotine lasts in the freezer for years”
“Since hearing of this new ban I have been panic-buying litres upon litres of juice, nicotine and coils”
Return to smoking
Some vapers have said it’s all just too hard and have already gone back to smoking. Others intend to smoke again when the laws change.
One retailer said ”when I informed customers of the ban most of them stated they would go back to smoking”
“It is insane that I have to break the law to keep vaping. I will just go back to smoking”
Make sure your voice is heard
Evidence-based policy should balance the needs of both adult vapers and youth.
Ignoring the legitimate concerns of adult vapers will increase smoking rates, supports the black market, criminalises vapers and perpetuates access to young people.
Contact your local federal MP and state Senators today and voice your concerns about the proposed ban.
Join and follow ASACA, the Australian Smokefree Alternatives Consumer Association