First Big Bust Under New Vape Import Laws

Right before Christmas we reported on the new laws prohibiting the import of vaping products, which became effective on 01 January, using a phased approach to cover all other vaping goods from 01 March .

Now the Australian Border Force (ABF) has seized more than 13 tonnes of disposable vapes in Adelaide in what the federal government says is the first large-scale bust since the new laws took effect.

Border force officers became suspicious when 14 air cargo consignments declared as “refillable atomiser” arrived from a single point of origin.

ABF Assistant Commissioner Chris Waters said the shipments came from China and arrived in Melbourne before being moved to South Australia.

According to a report on the ABC, nearly 250,000 vapes – with an estimated street value of $7.4 million – have been intercepted since 01 January, when it became illegal to import disposable, single use vapes.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler praised the efforts of ABF in one of the biggest seizures of vapes in Australia. He said he planned to introduce laws to stop the sale and supply of non-prescription vapes and close loopholes that allowed vape stores to open.

The minister said vapes being sold would need to comply to new standards such as being plain-flavoured, have prescribed nicotine-levels and have pharmaceutical packaging.

“This is really designed to make sure to the extent there is a therapeutic pathway or therapeutic use for vapes, on prescription from your doctor or nurse practitioner or through your pharmacy,” he said.

Stricter vaping laws to start in March
Further reforms will start from 01 March, which includes a ban on importing refillable, non-therapeutic vapes as well as the personal importation of therapeutic vapes.

“From 1st of March, it will only be possible to import vapes with a permit from the Office of Drug Protection and those vapes will need to comply with new standards that are put in place by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Mr Butler said.

Under the new laws, Australian patients will not be able to import vaping products from overseas regardless of whether they have a prescription. Only importers who hold both a license to be an importer of vaping goods, and a permit for vaping goods, issued by the Office of Drug Control will be able to import vaping goods.

For information about import regulations and restrictions, contact us here at Colless Young. As Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders, we offer you correct, professional advice on your import and export cargo, by air or sea. We are based in Brisbane and handle your shipping and transport needs, including Customs clearance & quarantine procedures, warehousing and trucking – at all Australian ports and airports.